|March 1, 2021 11:06 AM
|Representative Russ Diamond
|All House members
|Eliminating Daylight Saving Time (DST)
|In the near future I will be introducing legislation (Former HB 825) to permanently place Pennsylvania on Eastern Standard Time and end the outdated ritual of “springing forward and falling back.” Daylight Saving Time (DST), launched during World War I as an attempt to save energy, has outlived its usefulness.
Energy savings from changing clocks has historically been negligible at best. Due to the proliferation of air conditioning, energy usage during DST may actually increase. The phase-out of incandescent bulbs further minimizes energy differentials. Office buildings, manufacturing facilities, retail stores, and other workplaces remain climate controlled and/or illuminated by energy efficient lighting both day and night. There is no national crisis that changing clocks helps to alleviate.
In fact, there are more negative side effects from changing clocks than benefits. Studies have shown that automobile accidents, workplace injuries, heart attacks, strokes, cluster headaches, depression, and suicides all increase in the weeks following clock changes. These government-mandated interruptions of natural biological rhythms and sleep cycles can wreak havoc on job performance, academic results, and overall physical/mental health. Clock changes require farmers to make needless adjustments, as crops and animals live by the sun, not a timepjece.
A 2016 study of 300 US metropolitan areas based on evidence from peer-reviewed academic journals by Chmura Economics & Analytics found that $434 million in annual economic losses are realized in those metro areas due to DST. Every Pennsylvania metro area included in the study indicated a negative economic impact from DST. A 2008 report by the Independent Institute estimated that the annual US “opportunity cost” of changing clocks could be as high as $1.7 billion.
Changing clocks twice every year simply because “we’ve always done it that way” is not enough reason to continue the practice. Federal law allows a state to exempt itself from observing DST, upon action by the state legislature to do so. In recent years legislation proposing to end the observance of DST has been introduced in a number of states (up to 16 in 2017). As the Keystone State, Pennsylvania should be the leader among surrounding states in eliminating DST.
Some may assume that adopting permanent DST is more appealing due to emotional fixation on summertime activities during the other three seasons. However, given that Pennsylvania is geographically situated roughly between the 75th and 80th meridians, our traditional schedules as they relate to winter daylight, and the natural idea that noon should approximate the time of the sun’s zenith (hence, “mid-day”), Eastern Standard Time is the logical preference. Additionally, adopting permanent DST would require congressional approval.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this common sense legislation that will not only end the antiquated ritual of changing clocks, but will also help preserve the health, safety, well-being, productivity, and lives of Pennsylvanians.
BERNSTINE, DALEY, EVERETT, GROVE, KAUFFMAN, KNOWLES, MACKENZIE, MILLARD, RYAN, SOLOMON, STRUZZI, QUINN and ROWE
Introduced as HB846