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PA lawmaker: turn off Daylight Saving Time

HARRISBURG, PA — This coming weekend, most of us in the continental United States are urged to turn our clocks ahead an hour to sync with most other states that observe Daylight Saving Time (DST) from March through November.

One Pennsylvania lawmaker, Rep. Russ Diamond, thinks it’s time to ditch the time switch and permanently remain on Standard Time. He issued a document that says he plans to introduce such legislation, and he is seeking cosponsors.

 “Energy savings from changing clocks has historically been negligible at best. Due to the proliferation of air conditioning, energy usage during DST may actually increase. The phase-out of incandescent bulbs further minimizes energy differentials. Office buildings, manufacturing facilities, retail stores, and other workplaces remain climate controlled and/or illuminated by energy efficient lighting both day and night. There is no national crisis that changing clocks helps to alleviate,” wrote Diamond.

Diamond is not alone. Lawmakers in several other states want to end the twice yearly interruption to our biological clocks. Several of them, however, want to go in the opposite direction; they want to end EST or standard time and stick with DST throughout the year.

According to an article in Newsweek, lawmakers in Florida have introduced legislation to stay with DST all year, but the state can’t actually make the switch without congressional approval. Sen. Marco Rubio has submitted legislation that would codify DST with the Sunshine Protection Act, which has been largely ignored by other members of Congress.

Lawmakers in other states think Congress should pass a law that would allow states to determine on their own whether to go with DST, Standard Time, or both. To further complicate matters, some lawmakers in New Hampshire have started a move to end Eastern Standard Time (EST), but they would do so by creating a whole new time zone: the state would leave the Eastern Time Zone and would instead become part of the new Atlantic Time Zone, which is essentially DST all year long.

Most of Arizona and all of Hawaii did not switch to DST. States still have the option to switch to Eastern, Central, Mountain, or Pacific Time year-round without congressional approval, but not the other way around.

 Other states are exploring this option: the State of Washington is considering sticking with Pacific Standard Time all year, while Arkansas would remain on Central Standard Time and ditch DST. 

In Diamond’s view, this is the logical way to go. “Some may assume that adopting permanent DST is more appealing due to the emotional romanticism of summertime activities during the other three seasons. However, given that Pennsylvania is geographically situated roughly between the 75th and 80th parallels, our traditional schedules as they relate to winter daylight, and the natural idea that noon should approximate the time of the sun’s zenith (hence, “mid-day”), Eastern Standard Time is the logical preference,” he wrote.


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