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Change of time in the USA: which states do not have daylight saving time and why

Most Americans must go through the twice-yearly ritual of changing the hour on their clocks, but not all. Here are the states without Daylight Saving Time.

States that don’t have Daylight Saving Time
Carlos OsorioREUTERS

It’s been over a hundred years since the United States first began the practice of setting clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Saving Time to take advantage of the extended hours of sunlight during the summer months. The idea is that it helps save energy as well as reducing crime and road accidents according to its advocates. Its detractors say that it takes a toll on people’s health and can push back the hour of the sunrise.

Legislation has been introduced across the country and at the federal level to end the practice of adjusting clocks twice a year like the Sunshine Protection Act. But there are some states which already don’t bother with switching the biannual hour back and forth each year. But there are some states which already don’t bother with switching the hour back and forth each year.

Which US states are not changing their clocks?

The only parts of the US that do not have Daylight Saving Time (DST) are Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.

Arizona experimented with the change beginning in 1918 but decided to opt out of DST in 1968 permanently. Although the state observes Standard Time, the Navajo Nation, a Native American territory in the northeast of the state, which also crosses over into New Mexico and Utah, does make the twice-a-year time shift.

Hawaii is the only other state in the US that does not observe Daylight Saving Time. Similarly, the US territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea also do not follow this practice. The reason behind this is that these regions are located close to the equator, which results in no significant difference in sunrise and sunset times throughout the year. Therefore, there are no noticeable benefits from changing the clocks an hour forward or backward.

States call for time change but not as expected

The semi-annual time change can be a nuisance for some, prompting demands to abolish Daylight Saving Time or to implement it permanently. Currently, 29 states have proposed laws to end the bi-annual switch, with 19 having already passed laws as of October 2022 to implement year-round Daylight Saving Time.

Those states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, are “Colorado and Kentucky (resolution) (2022), Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi and Montana (2021). Idaho, Louisiana, Ohio (resolution), South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming (2020). Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington (2019). Florida (2018)”.

California voters authorized doing so in 2018, but legislative action is pending. “Other states have commissioned studies on the topic, including Massachusetts (2017) and Maine (2021),” NCSL explains.

Several states are proposing legislation regarding Daylight Savings and Standard Time. In Nebraska, the legislation will only take effect if one of its neighboring states also passes the same legislation. In New Mexico, two bills are being considered to make either Daylight Savings or Standard Time permanent. Meanwhile, lawmakers in the Texas House overwhelmingly approved keeping year-round DST but the legislation stalled in the Texas Senate. Iowa, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia had introduced similar legislation, but it failed to pass.

Since 1966, the Department of Transportation holds the power to make any change regarding time zones, and such a change would require Congressional approval. However, if a state decides to stick to Standard Time throughout the year, it won’t need to seek the federal government’s permission.

How does Daylight Saving Time work?

Twice a year, most Americans adjust their clocks for Daylight Saving Time. The change takes place on the second Sunday of March and the first Sunday of November annually. The transition is always executed on a weekend at 2:00 a.m. with the aim of minimizing disruption.

To help you remember how to adjust your clock, there is a popular saying: “Spring forward, Fall back.” In the spring, you need to set your clock forward by an hour, while in the fall, you need to set it back by an hour.

This time shift allows people to take advantage of the longer daylight hours during the summer months, which in turn is said to help save energy. Other benefits listed are that it also helps to reduce crime and traffic accidents.