Spring Forward One Hour

Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour before going to bed tonight. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), daylight saving time begins Sunday, March 13th at 2am.

So, do we still need daylight saving time? Does yanking our schedule back and forth twice a year serve any practical purpose? Is it killing us? The debate rages on and I’m sure Congress will weigh all the facts and act swiftly and decisively. The WashPo has the latest in “Congress weighs permanent daylight saving time in a debate as regular as clockwork.”

Health groups including the American Academy of Sleep Medicine have called for an end to the shifting, which was first adopted in the United States a century ago. Daylight saving time has since been revised repeatedly by lawmakers trying to strike the right balance, including a short-lived effort to make it year-round in response to the 1970s energy crisis. A pair of experts at Wednesday’s hearing, convened by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on consumer protection, also testified that the twice-per-year disruption hurts sleep, is linked to cardiac problems and presents other health and public safety risks.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans want to stop the biannual clock change. More than 28 states are considering an end to the shifting. Fun fact:

While states can choose to adopt permanent standard time — as Arizona and Hawaii have done — it would take an act of Congress to allow states to adopt permanent daylight saving time, a fact that has repeatedly astounded lawmakers over the years.

The forces of darkness have the edge . . . for now.

[Update: RI Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is sponsoring the Sunshine Protection Act, a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent.]

(Seen here is the iconic Shepard’s Clock on Westminster Street.)


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