Love it or hate it, our annual ritual of early March – changing our clocks to daylight saving time – is coming at 2 a.m. Sunday.
That means it's also time for another annual ritual: the debate over the pros and cons of springing forward (in March) or falling back (in November). While some people love the daylight at the end of the day as the weather warms, others bemoan the loss of an hour's sleep.
One "time activist," Scott Yates of Denver, wants us to "end the barbarism of changing the clock twice a year." Yates, who promotes the hashtag #LocktheClock, said momentum for ending the time change is stronger now than ever before.
"The vibe I’m picking up everywhere is that it’s time to get this done," he wrote on his website. "With all that’s going wrong in the world, let’s at least make the clocks work. That’s the general feeling I’m picking up all over the place."
Fifteen states have already enacted legislation to make daylight saving time or standard time year-round, he said, thus ending the practice of changing our clocks twice a year.
This legislation is "more than symbolic," Yates told USA TODAY. "Every state that passes something helps motivate the lawmakers in D.C. to do something. That means a lot."
The 15 states: California, Florida, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, Idaho, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Arkansas, Georgia, Ohio and Wyoming.
Federal act was passed 55 years ago
The ultimate stumbling block for fans of year-round daylight saving is the federal 1966 Uniform Time Act, which became law because of the random way states had been observing daylight saving time up until then. The act said states either have to change the clocks to daylight saving time at a specified time and day or stick with standard time throughout the year.
The only power individual states or territories have under the act is to opt out of daylight saving time, putting them on standard time permanently, such as what is practiced by Arizona, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Georgia is one state seeking to enact standard time year-round. A bill that recently passed the Georgia Senate needs to also pass the Georgia House and be signed by Gov. Brian Kemp before it becomes state law.
A separate Georgia bill would make daylight saving year-round in the Peach State.
MORE FROM REVIEWED.COM: 10 items that make adjusting to daylight saving time easier
But any proposals that would establish permanent daylight saving time would require Congress to amend the Uniform Time Act of 1966.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has been in favor of year-round daylight saving time for several years. His Sunshine Protection Act of 2019 was an effort to end the twice-annual time changes and keep daylight saving time year-round in his state and across the nation instead of the current eight months. Although it passed the Florida Legislature, the bill still requires an amendment to the 1966 act to see the light of day at the federal level.
Two bills have been introduced in Congress this year that call for daylight saving time to become permanent, according to CNN: the Sunshine Protection Act (H.B. 69) and the Daylight Act (H.B. 214). Both have stalled in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The U.S. first implemented daylight saving during World War I as a way to conserve fuel as part of the Standard Time Act of 1918, also known as the Calder Act. After World War I, Congress abolished summer daylight saving at the federal level, although it remained a local option with some states continuing to observe it.
During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurated a year-round daylight saving time that was commonly known as "War Time."
Who's responsible for time?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is in charge of daylight saving time and all time zones in the U.S. "The oversight of time zones was assigned to DOT because time standards are important for many modes of transportation," according to the department's website.
The DOT says daylight saving is observed because it saves energy, saves lives by preventing traffic accidents and reduces crime.
Proponents of a permanent daylight saving time also say it will do everything from reduce crime and childhood obesity to improve the economy and save money on energy costs.
A 2015 study by Jennifer Doleac and Nicholas Sanders for the Brookings Institute found robbery rates were 7% lower in the weeks after daylight saving time. A 27% decrease occurred when only the hours surrounding sunset were considered.
On the other side of the coin, proponents of year-round standard time say it balances morning and evening daylight, which makes sleeping and waking easier. The new website SaveStandardTime.com is such an effort, which states that "data and history show that geographically appropriate, permanent standard time is the best civil clock for health, safety, education, productivity, wages, environment and civil liberty."
Worldwide, more than 70 countries observe daylight saving time. It's known as summer time in some countries, including the United Kingdom and in Europe.
No one is sure just how much daylight is actually "saved," globally, each year, though physics indicates none. That is because the amount of daylight doesn't really change, of course: It effectively just switches it from morning to evening.
Contributing: Kimberly Miller, The Palm Beach Post
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Daylight saving time 2021 is March 14: DST controversy, explained