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Legislation proposed by state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, Senate Bill 2329 and Senate Joint Resolution 86, would allow Texans to vote on permanently adopting daylight saving time as the official time of the Lone Star State. 

If passed by the Texas Legislature, the bill and the resolution, which proposes a constitutional amendment requiring the state observe DST year-round, would be on Nov. 7 general election ballots. The measures would affect all areas in the state, no matter if they are in Central or Mountain Standard time zones.

“Texans are tired of having to change their clocks and lose an hour’s sleep for no reason,” said state Rep. Mike Schofield, the House author of the two bills. “People would like to get home from work and play with their kids without it being dark half the time. There’s no reason not to fix this.”

Currently, federal law dictates that states may only vote to stay on standard time as opposed to daylight saving time. A bill recently proposed in the current U.S. congressional session by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023, could change things as it would allow states to permanently adopt daylight saving time. 

“When you think of hot-button public policy issues, what usually comes to mind are things such as property tax relief and school finance and pension reform,” said Bettencourt in a statement released on Sunday, March 12, the start of daylight saving time in 2023. “However, the issue of Daylight Saving Time has roused passions on both sides of the debate for over 100 years.”

Even if the bill were to be passed by state legislators and approved in the Nov. 7 general election, Texans would have to wait for a federal court order or congressional action, like the Sunshine Protection Act, before it could become state law.

“Instead of fall back and spring forward, it would be a fall vote to keep a Day Light Saving Time, but the language in the Texas Constitutional Amendment says it would await a Federal Court order or Congressional action before it could be implemented,” Bettencourt said in the media release.

Supporters of daylight saving time claim the time change reduces energy consumption, though studies on the issue have been inconclusive. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2008 found an extended daylight saving time reduced energy usage by about 0.5 percent over a four-week period, while a different study by the University of California, Santa Barbara, which examined Indiana’s energy consumption during daylight saving time, found that the time shift actually led to a 1 percent increase in usage.

DST HISTORY

Daylight saving time was first enacted during World War I before being repealed in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson. Reinstated during World War II, the time change was repealed by President Harry Truman three weeks after the war concluded. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which paved the way for states to vote to choose to remain on standard time.

Across the country, 19 states have already passed similar bills to make daylight saving time permanent if ever allowed by federal law. Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states to not observe daylight saving time.

nathan@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Texans could vote on permanent daylight saving time

  1. It would be better to make STANDARD time the permanent one. It’s healthier to have more daylight in the morning than in the evening. The light in the morning helps you wake up and get going, and the darkness in the evening helps your body prepare for sleep. A health expert on the Today show explained this recently. And it would be more in line with Arizona, Hawaii, and the rest of the world.

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