Change of time in the USA: which states do not have to change it and why
Congress did not pass a bill to abolish the twice annual act of changing the hour. But not all Americans apply DST, here’s which states don’t.
As we move into spring, the days are gently becoming longer. To take advantage of the increasing amount of daylight, last night most Americans partook in the twice annual ritual of changing the hour on their clocks, this time moving to Daylight Saving Time, meaning moving the time forward. Remember Spring Forward, Fall Back.
While legislation was passed last year in the Senate to do away with the contested habit, it failed to get a vote in the House of Representatives. However, not all Americans have to worry about whether or not their clock or watch reads the right hour come Sunday 12 March. Here are the states that forgo springing ahead and falling back each year and why that’s so.
Which US states are not changing their clocks?
The only parts of the US that do not have Daylight Saving Time are Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.
Arizona experimented with the change beginning in 1918, but decided to permanently opt out of the Daylight Saving Time in 1968. Although the state observes Standard Time, the Navajo Nation, a Native American territory in the north-east 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 that currently doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time. Along with the other US territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea, they are close enough to the equator that there is no significant difference in sunrise and sunset times across the year so there are no benefits from changing the hour.
States call for time change but not as expected
For some the twice annual time change is a bother, which has led to calls to end the practice of Daylight Saving Time. 29 states have introduced legislation to do away with the twice-yearly switch, 19 have passed legislation as of October 2022 to implement Daylight Saving Time year round.
Those states according to the National Conference of State Legislatures are Kentucky and Mississippi (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) and 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).
Nebraska introduced legislation on the matter, but the state would only enact the measure should one of its neighbors do the same. In New Mexico, a pair of bills would make either Daylight Savings or Standard Time permanent. Texas lawmakers want to put the matter up to voters, aiming to do so for the November ballot.
Iowa, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia all introduced legislation but it failed to pass last year.
However, the ultimate authority to make any change has been under the Department of Transportation since 1966 and they would need Congressional approval. But, if those states chose to keep Standard Time all year, they wouldn’t need to ask the federal government for its OK.
How does Daylight Saving Time work?
Twice a year the majority of Americans change their clocks for Daylight Saving Time. The change happens on the second Sunday of March and the first Sunday of November each year. The shift is always done on the weekend at 2:00 am to limit the amount of disruption caused.
There is a saying to help remember which way to change your clock, “Spring forward, Fall back,” so in the springtime you turn your clock forward one hour and in the autumn you turn your clock back an hour. The time shift allows people to take advantage of extra daylight during summer allowing them to save energy, as well as reducing crime and traffic accidents.
Check out how the move to Daylight Saving Time affects the Oscar start times.