Making Daylight Savings Time Permanent In California Will Require More Than Ballot Measures
The midterms may have had a decidedly somber or stressful tone to them for many people across the nation, but a few measures on the ballot seemed more lighthearted. For example, California voted to make Daylight Savings Time (DST) permanent in on Tuesday via Proposition 7. The bill passed with overwhelming support at 60 percent — but that doesn't mean it's going to happen quite yet.
Proposition 7 entails that, if passed by the people in the popular vote, the bill will go to the state legislature, which has to pass the vote once more with at least two-thirds support. After that, Proposition 7 would only go into effect if the federal government ever changed the national laws on governing times.
If this were ever to happen, then that would mean California would essentially have a new time zone, in which it would be one hour ahead of Pacific Standard Time in the winter months. But there's no indication that the federal government has any intent to change the laws on governing time any time soon.
California may have been the only state to have a DST-focused proposition on the ballot for the 2018 midterms, but it's not the only state to have ever voted on such a measure.
Florida voted on a similar measure in March for the Sunshine Protection Act, becoming the first state ever to approve year-round DST, but again, this will only go into effect if Congress changes the federal law. With that said, there are currently two states that do not observe DST: Hawaii and Arizona.
A majority of Arizona (besides the Navajo nation territory) does not observe DST and hasn't since 1968 when it opted out, citing how much daylight and heat the state gets, according to Time. As for Hawaii, it opted out of DST in 1967, citing its close proximity to the equator.
If Californians were ever to get their wish and keep DST all year long, then it would be dark until around eight in the morning in the winters— but there are lots of pros for this shift. The Verge reports a multitude of studies that have connected the current biannual time shifts with increased instances of heart attacks, traffic accidents, and workplace injury, largely due to the now-unnecessary change in our sleep cycle. However, these are simply correlations and don't imply causation for certain.
DST was first implemented as a wartime measure in World War I to save fuel, so its origin is no longer applicable in 2018.
It's not just the United States that's dealing with this issue. The Washington Post reports that 70 countries currently change their clocks twice a year, largely for the purpose of gaining more light for their citizens depending on the season. But several countries are reflecting a desire to do away with the confusion of switching time twice a year, including Morocco, Russia, Belarus, and the European Union in totality.
For now, Californians will have to settle for turning their clocks backward and forward twice a year.