The unofficial end of summer, Labor Day, is upon us. Kids are heading back to school, the leaves are starting to change color, and there’s a certain crispness to the air (unless you’re still dealing with late summer heat). That can only mean one thing: we’re losing daylight.
We’ve been steadily losing daylight since the summer solstice on June 21. It starts slow, at about a minute a week, before ramping up during September. In Chicago, for example, the sun sets at around 7:25 p.m. on September 1. By October 1, the sun will set around 6:32 p.m.
Darkness will only fall sooner when daylight saving time ends.
We’ve been on daylight saving time since March 12, and reaping the benefits: more daylight. But that will come to an end at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 5, when we will “fall back,” bringing in early sunsets and more darkness for the winter. (We will, however, get an extra hour of sleep that night.)
It won’t be quite so bad in Honolulu, though. On November 6, the sun will set at 5:52 p.m. In Phoenix, it’ll be slightly earlier at 5:32 p.m. Why? Hawaii and most of Arizona do not observe daylight saving time, so they won’t be changing their clocks.
Many other states are hoping to stop changing the clocks as well.
Under the Uniform Time Act of 1966, states can choose not to observe daylight saving time — the time between March and November — but can’t choose to stay on daylight saving time year-round.
Many states have enacted legislation that would put them on permanent daylight saving time if Congressional action gives them the opportunity, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Those states include Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. California voters authorized a change but legislative action has yet to happen.
Earlier this year, two bills were introduced in Congress that would have an impact on daylight saving time.
In March, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023, which received bipartisan support in the Senate. Like a similar bill Rubio introduced in 2022, the clocks would have changed for a final time in March and we would observe daylight saving time permanently. No action has been taken on the bill.
Representative Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) also introduced a bill in March, except it would give states the power to stay on daylight saving time year-round. It was referred to the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce in March, but has since stalled. A similar bill introduced by Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC) suffered a similar fate.
It’s unclear whether any bill stands a chance of moving through this Congress.
The U.S. has observed daylight saving time since 1918, according to the University of Colorado Boulder, but it was repealed in 1919 because it was, at first, a wartime measure. In 1942, during World War II, daylight saving time was reinstated but it wasn’t until 1966 when Congress passed the Uniform Time Act that the bi-annual clock-changing became the norm.
A short time later, the U.S. tried observing daylight saving time permanently as a way to combat a national energy crisis in late 1973. Though Americans thought highly of the plan at the time, it quickly became unfavorable as parents began worrying about traffic accidents and the safety of their children, who were now going to school before the sun came up. By the fall of 1974, then-President Gerald Ford had signed a bill to put the U.S. back on standard time for four months.
It isn’t just lawmakers hoping to stop this practice. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently called for the U.S. to ditch the tradition and instead stay on permanent standard time. That would mean changing the clocks for the final time in November, when daylight saving time ends, and remaining on that time.