By Dave Fidlin | The Center Square
State Sen. Scott Martin is on a quest to end the twice-annual practice of changing clocks – not just within the state, but across all of the U.S.
Martin, R-Lancaster, went before the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee recently and discussed why he was introducing Senate Resolution 179. At its core, the document calls on federal lawmakers to abolish the long-running practice of Daylight Saving Time.
“I think it’s a process that’s well past its time,” Martin said. “I think we can do better.”
In his recent remarks to the Senate panel, Martin described the practice of changing clocks back an hour in November and ahead in March as an “archaic tradition.”
“Many believe Daylight Saving Time began to help farmers, but this is a misconception,” Martin wrote in a co-sponsorship memorandum outlining the rationale for the resolution.
“The practice began temporarily during World War I as a fuel-saving measure and was reinstated briefly during World War II,” Martin said. “It was made a permanent fixture for most American states and territories in 1966 when President [Lyndon] Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act.”
Martin said there were other reasons he drafted the resolution and is asking his Senate colleagues to forward the call on to federal lawmakers for a vote.
“Some studies show that the twice-a-year change actually leads to an increase of car accidents, work-related injuries, risk of stroke and heart attacks and a loss of productivity, costing the United States economy over $400 million a year,” Martin wrote in the memo.
During his testimony before the Senate panel, Martin laid out other reasons he believes Daylight Saving Time should end, including concerns of student performance from time shifts and interference with family activities in the evening.
“I think, in general, from a family perspective – who wouldn’t like to see a little more daylight?” Martin said.
The Senate State Government Committee voted unanimously in favor of forwarding Martin’s resolution on to the full legislative body.
“Thank you for bringing this forward,” said state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Greene Township, who serves on the panel. “It needs to go away.”
While most Americans routinely change their clocks twice annually, there are exceptions. Arizona, for example, has not recognized Daylight Saving Time since 1968. Hawaii is another state that currently maintains a standard time throughout the year.
Pennsylvania lawmakers are not the only ones who have discussed ending Daylight Saving Time. Similar state-specific proposals have been considered in the past in Maine and Massachusetts.
Also, Florida lawmakers last year passed the so-called Sunshine Protection Act, which calls for an end to Daylight Saving Time in the state, though federal approval is required since the proposal also includes a call to shift time zones.