If you are tired of the sun setting before you can get home from work, here’s some good news — daylight saving time is on its way.
Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. (local time) on March 13, bringing more light in the afternoon and evening.
While many look forward to more daylight hours in the afternoon, more states are questioning the wisdom of twice-a-year time changes (remember, we “fall back” in November). Why do we spring forward? Is it really necessary to fall back?
Here’s a look at why we started using DST and why we continue to do it.
How it started
We can blame New Zealand entomologist George Hudson for daylight saving time. He wanted extra hours after work to go bug hunting, according to National Geographic, so he came up with the idea of just moving the hands on the clock.
William Willett, who is the great-great-grandfather of the band Coldplay’s Chris Martin, arrived at the same idea a few years later and proposed moving the clock forward in the spring and back in the fall in his work, “British Summer Time.”
Willett’s idea was picked up a few years later by the Germans who used it during World War I as a way to save on coal use. Other countries would soon follow suit, most with the idea it would be a cost-saving measure.
President Woodrow Wilson agreed that DST was a good idea and in 1918, he signed legislation that would shift the country to the new time system.
Why did the U.S. make the change?
The idea of setting clocks ahead in the spring was pitched as a way to help farmers with crops and harvesting. In reality, it was retailers who were behind the push for adjusting clocks, looking for another hour of shopping time in the afternoon and evenings.
While most of the country and about 40% of the world use DST, there are some exceptions. Two states — Arizona and Hawaii — and several territories don’t fall back or spring forward with DST.
Arizona has not observed DST since 1967 when they filed for an exemption under the DST exemption statute. Hawaii, too, opted out under the exemption. The state has never used DST.
Will we keep it?
It’s likely that most U.S. states will continue the practice of changing the clock twice a year at least for a while, though some state legislatures have discussed ending the practice.
Nineteen states have enacted legislation or passed resolutions to provide for year-round daylight saving time.
The 19 states are: Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Idaho, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, Florida and California.
Full-time DST is not currently allowed by federal law. Approval must come from Congress if a change is made.
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