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Yes, states can opt out of daylight saving time

While states can opt out of daylight saving time on their own, they need congressional action to permanently stay on it.

Daylight saving time ends on Nov. 6 at 2 a.m., meaning most Americans will have to adjust to “falling back” an hour to return to standard time.

The two times a year we have to change our clocks (the other of which occurs in March when we “spring forward” an hour), elicit calls from people to stick with one time and eliminate the semi-annual adjustments.


Can states opt out of daylight saving time?



This is true.

Yes, states can opt out of daylight saving time and permanently remain on standard time. But states that want to stay on daylight saving time permanently need congressional approval. 


Daylight saving time began during World War I, first observed by Germany in 1916, to conserve fuel that generated electricity. The U.S. adopted daylight saving time later in the war -- in 1918.

In 1919, after the war had ended, the U.S. repealed the law that mandated daylight saving time, but it remained in some parts of the country that chose to keep it.

Another law was put in place requiring daylight saving time nationwide during World War II and, again, was repealed soon after the war.

In the years following World War II, there was no federal law regulating daylight saving time and standard time, which the Interstate Commerce Commission said was causing confusion between states

That was until Congress in 1966 passed the Uniform Time Act – establishing when daylight saving time and standard time would be observed. The act also gave states the option to not observe daylight saving time and remain on standard time year-round.

Currently, two states, Arizona (except the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii, do not observe daylight saving time. U.S. territories American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not observe daylight saving time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

So, why do most Americans have to keep changing the clocks? It turns out daylight saving time is more popular than standard time – and the process to stay on daylight saving time permanently is different.

In the last four years, 19 states have either enacted legislation or passed resolutions to stay sprung forward on daylight saving time all year long, the NCSL says.

The catch is federal law only allows states to remain on standard time – not daylight saving time. So, states that have taken the steps to make daylight saving time permanent need congressional approval. Unless Congress takes action, no changes will happen in those states. 

While Congress in 2005 lengthened daylight saving time to start on the second Sunday of March and end on the first Sunday of November, it has stopped short of allowing states to stay on daylight saving time year-round.

Bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate that would make daylight saving time permanent, with exceptions for states and territories that already don’t observe daylight saving time. Neither bill has advanced to a vote.

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