Daylight saving time will fall back as democracy still continues to fall flat

On Sunday, November 6, 2022, most of the United States will resume standard time for what some Americans think is the final round of clock changing because the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation making daylight saving time permanent starting in 2023.

They may be surprised to learn that the House of Representatives has yet to approve the legislation or send the measure to President Joe Biden for his signature.

The sun nearly set on daylight saving for good. This could have been the last time America ever had to deal with it, but things didn’t quite work out. 

While the Sunshine Protection Act would nationally shift clocks an hour later to maximize daylight, some doctors have argued that adopting permanent standard time would be a healthier option and better align with humans’ natural rhythms.

It might not feel like autumn quite yet, but the spring and summer daylight saving period is coming to an end so you will soon find that your evening walks are a lot darker.

Given this, it may be good practice to invest in some reflective active wear.

If you tend to be a little melancholic, it may be worth adding a Seasonal Affective Disorder Lamp to your holiday wish list.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D.-N.J.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees time change policies, said the measure has hit a brick wall in the House.

The main impediments dimming the legislation’s chances of passing appear to be fundamental disagreements over its language and a general consensus that other matter take precedence as the House grapples with high inflation, gun massacres and fending off judicial threats on issues such as abortion and marriage equality.

“I can’t say it’s a priority,” said Pallone, who explained that while a number of lawmakers agree that “spring forward” and “fall back” clock changes should be done away with, they cannot agree whether the permanent time should be daylight saving or standard.

“We have so many other priorities, but it doesn’t mean because it’s not a priority that we’re not trying to work on it. We are,” he said, adding later, “If we can accomplish anything, it wouldn’t be until the fall.”

This legislation would end the twice-annual clock change begrudged by American’s from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Ending the twice-annual changing of clocks in a move promoted by supporters advocating brighter afternoons and more economic activity.

The Senate approved the measure, called the Sunshine Protection Act, unanimously by voice vote. The House of Representatives, which has held a committee hearing on the matter, must still pass the bill before it can go to to sign.

Time zones were first introduced in the United States in 1883 by railroad companies.

In 1918, they were codified into federal law by the Standard Time Act, which also included a provision for nationwide daylight saving time modeled after European laws designed to save energy during World War I, but that component was repealed a year later due to protests by farmers.

Many states subsequently introduced daylight saving time, and in 1966, the Uniform Time Act standardized the dates when it begins and ends.

Hawaii, most of Arizona, and the U.S. territories have opted to observe permanent standard time, but the Uniform Time Act forbids observation of permanent daylight saving time.

Monmouth University poll conducted in March found that 61 percent want to end the twice-yearly changing of the clocks, compared to 35 percent who want to keep the status quo.

Princeton University Professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Professor Benjamin I Page concluded several years ago that the opinions of average Americans have little power to move policy.

When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

They conclude:

Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

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