Sup­pose we spring for­ward, never fall back?

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Stay Connected - BY KIRK JOHN­SON New York Times

A day is a day, with so many hours of dark­ness and so many of light. It’s a hard re­al­ity that no pow­er­ful king or bril­liant philoso­pher has ever found a way around. And yet, ev­ery year, bless our hearts, we try.

Com­pelled by the au­gustly named fed­eral Uni­form Time Act of 1966, most Amer­i­cans will leap ahead – or stum­ble blearily – from one con­fig­u­ra­tion of the clock to an­other this week­end, as day­light sav­ing time clicks in at 2 a.m. Sun­day.

But many peo­ple are say­ing it’s time for time to be left alone. State leg­is­la­tures from New Eng­land to the West Coast are con­sid­er­ing pro­pos­als to end the leap­ing, clock­shift­ing con­fu­sion of hours lost or gained, and the co­nun­drums it can cre­ate.

Could 8 a.m. some­how, some­where in the uni­verse, re­ally still be 8 a.m., even if now you’re sud­denly call­ing it 9?

“I can­not change the ro­ta­tion of the earth and sun,” said Kansen Chu, a Cal­i­for­nia law­maker who is spon­sor­ing a bill to keep the state per­ma­nently on day­light time – one of at least 31 states that are ad­dress­ing some as­pect of day­light sav­ing and its dis­con­tents. “But I am hop­ing to get more sun­light to the peo­ple of Cal­i­for­nia.”

Pro­po­nents of set­ting the clock once and be­ing done with it, like Chu, a Demo­crat from the San Jose area, said that shift­ing back and forth in the spring and fall, if it ever re­ally made sense, no longer does.

Cal­i­for­nia vot­ers agreed last fall, ap­prov­ing a bal­lot propo­si­tion for year-round day­light time by a wide margin.

Life­styles and pat­terns of work are dif­fer­ent now than they were when day­light sav­ing first be­came en­trenched na­tion­ally dur­ing and after World War II. Re­search, Chu and oth­ers said, has shown that hu­man be­ings just aren’t as flex­i­ble about their daily rhythms as they once seemed; ac­ci­dents, heart at­tacks and strokes tend to oc­cur in greater num­bers around the time shift.

The 1966 law al­lows states to opt out of day­light sav­ing, and Hawaii and Ari­zona do so, stay­ing on stan­dard time all year; so does Puerto Rico. But for rea­sons that his­to­ri­ans say re­main murky, the law does not al­low states to opt in all the way, and choose day­light time year­round. So the Cal­i­for­nia pro­posal, and a sim­i­lar bill passed by the Florida Leg­is­la­ture last year, would re­quire an act of Congress to take ef­fect.

Josh Yokela, a Repub­li­can state leg­is­la­tor in New Hamp­shire, is work­ing on a way around that prob­lem. He is the lead spon­sor of a bill, passed by the state House last month, to re­quest that New Hamp­shire be shifted into the At­lantic time zone, which by fine co­in­ci­dence would do ex­actly what day­light sav­ing does now: put the state an hour ahead of Eastern Stan­dard Time. Then the state would opt out of sea­sonal clock changes, as the 1966 law al­lows.

The key is that mov­ing to a dif­fer­ent time zone does not re­quire an act of Congress – all it takes is an or­der from the Trans­porta­tion De­part­ment, the fed­eral agency that over­sees time (a legacy of its du­ties reg­u­lat­ing rail­road sched­ules).

“We would be on the same time as the rest of the Eastern time zone for eight months of the year, be­cause they ac­cept day­light sav­ing time – and when they fall back in the win­ter, we wouldn’t,” Yokela said.

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