Oregon Tries and Fails to Eliminate Daylight Saving, for Now - The World News

Oregon Tries and Fails to Eliminate Daylight Saving, for Now

Oregon’s state senate failed to advance a bill on Tuesday that would have abolished daylight saving time in most of the state and switched it to standard time for the entire year, the latest chapter in an effort by states to settle on whether clocks need to fall back or spring forward at all.

The bill proposed that the part of the state in the Pacific Time Zone — almost all of the state is, save Malheur County, which is on Mountain time — abolish “the annual one-hour change in time from standard time to daylight saving time.”

The measure isn’t entirely dead: The state senate sent the bill back to committee to be amended to make sure that if it were to happen Oregon wouldn’t be the only state in the region switching to permanent standard time.

Lawmakers in Oregon’s neighboring states have proposed similar bills. In Idaho this week, a bill was introduced to get rid of daylight saving time, and there is a similar bill in front of California’s Assembly. In Washington State, a bill to abolish daylight saving time and return to permanent standard time failed last month.

“We are leading the way,” Kim Thatcher, a sponsor of the Oregon bill, said on the State Senate floor this week before the bill’s failure. “I think we’re not going to be alone in this, but there might be a little weirdness at first, just know that.”

Oregon would have been the first West Coast state to spend its entire year on standard time. Arizona (except for the Navajo nation) and Hawaii also observe standard time year-round. And in 2022, Mexico ended daylight saving time for most of the country, but carved out an exception for the area along the U.S. border.

Daylight saving time has long been a matter of debate. Why do we change the clocks in the first place? Is doing so still — sorry — timely? And if we were to stop changing our clocks, would we freeze them on standard or on daylight saving time?

Since 2007, daylight saving time has begun in the United States on the second Sunday of March, when clocks spring forward an hour, and ended the first Sunday of November, when they fall back. (Get ready: This year, the clocks spring forward on March 10 and go back on Nov. 3.)

The main idea behind daylight saving time, was to move an hour of sunlight from the early morning to the evening so that people can make more use of daylight. Benjamin Franklin, while in France in the 18th century, is often credited as the first to suggest it.

Another argument in favor of the clock change, according to some, is that having sunlight later in the day can save energy costs, but there have been conflicting studies about whether it really does. People don’t seem to be fans, either: According to polls over the years, most Americans don’t like changing the clocks twice a year, and the days after the switch can be a turbulent time for public health. Daylight saving time still has some supporters, especially among business advocates who argue it helps bolster the economy.

The U.S. Senate passed legislation in 2022 that would do away with the time changes and make daylight saving time permanent. The U.S. House of Representatives hasn’t yet taken up the measure.

That bill is different from Oregon’s proposal, which would stop the clock on standard time.

Scientists generally prefer a permanent switch to standard time (the time in winter) rather than daylight saving time (the time in summer).

“Our ability to sleep well, as we know from experience, is profoundly impacted by exposure to light,” Bill Griesar, a teaching assistant professor at Portland State University, wrote in a public testimony this month. He added that standard time was “best aligned with the natural circadian rhythms of our own brains and bodies, allowing us to wake up more days of the year in sunlight.”

(In other words: In permanent daylight saving time most people are probably commuting to work in the dark, but in standard time the sun is probably up around that time.)

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine called for the abolition of daylight saving time in 2020, saying that the shifts, by disrupting the body’s natural clock, could cause an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular events, and could lead to more traffic accidents.

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