California OK’s Permanent Daylight Saving Time

Voters punched the clock against the annual “fall back” time change in a landslide, but the effort is unlikely to spring forward into reality.

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The nation just set its clocks back an hour this past weekend, but for Californians, it may have been for the last time ever. Among Tuesday’s California election results was a sweeping 20 percentage-point triumph for Prop. 7, the quirky proposal that would make daylight saving time permanent and abolish the annual setting back of clocks by an hour every November.

The measure creates a permanent daylight saving time zone that would only apply to the state of California. But despite a gigantic win in the statewide polls, the proposal probably won’t ever see the light of day.

Unlike most California propositions approved by voters, this one does not automatically become law.

According to the text of Prop. 7, the measure “Permits the Legislature by two-thirds vote to make future changes to California’s daylight saving time period, including for its year-round application.” In other words, it has to pass both the state senate and the state assembly with a 67 percent majority in both chambers — a much larger majority than even the 60-40 win the proposition enjoyed Tuesday.

On top of that, the measure would also have to be approved by the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. How unlikely is that? Just ask the state of Florida, which passed a similar Sunshine Protection Act in March of this year. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has introduced two bills in Congress to get Florida’s permanent daylight saving time, but neither has been given a hearing.

Arizona and Hawaii both do not observe daylight saving time, but those laws have been entrenched in those states since the late 1960s.

Anti-standard time advocates of Prop. 7 have many claims that permanent daylight saving time would reduce heart attacks and strokes, and save electricity. These claims do not have widespread medical or scientific consensus. And you have to consider also the bizarre effect on travel of being in a different time zone than neighboring states Nevada and Oregon, and what utter confusion this might wreak on scheduling conference calls with colleagues in other states.

Then again, Californians would be celebrating midnight on New Year’s Eve an hour earlier than other Pacific time zone states. That alone might be worth popping a bottle of champagne over.


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