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Will California Jump Ship on Daylight Saving Time?

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on March 16, 2016 6:58 AM

A bill has been introduced into California halls to undo a law that has been bothering Californians since 1949: daylight savings time. If the bill makes it to the ballot and passes, Californians will no longer have to wrangle with "Spring forward, fall back."

Unfortunately, the Assembly bill still has a bit of process to go through before it can be approved into law, so we'll have at least one more season to worry about getting up earlier.

Why Daylight Saving?

The ancients divided the day into equal sections of time regardless of celestial happenings that would either lengthen or shorten the day. However, as humans learned more about time, so too did the tradition of keeping constant divisions throughout all days.

Daylight Saving Time started off as the idea of a George Vernon Hudson, a new Zealand entomologist who used the shift in time to collect extra insects. Around 1900, he proposed that Victorian society should move the clock back and forth by two hours in the winter and summer respectively. That proposal never gained traction.

By the time DST got to America, DST supporters argued vigorously that the practice saved coal and promoted public health because it extended daylight hours for workers and allowed more recreation. But opponents have countered that DST actually disrupts sleep and is inimical to public health.

Kansen Chu's Bill

Assemblyman Kansen Chu's bill seeks to address some of these health concerns. He said that constituents in his district and their providers feel that the one hour time shift negatively affected their lives. His research indicated that DST actually was associated with a quick uptick in workplace accidents. And, the original goal of saving energy expenditures? It appears that Indiana state was actually using more energy after adopting DST back in 2006.

Alternatives

Opponents were quick to point out that the practice was already so ingrained in society that the costs would outweigh the benefits. Opponents have claimed that changing the state back to a non-DST state would "burden housewives" because the feeding schedule of their children would be disrupted.

DST will remain in the world because so many other sovereign powers subscribe to it. So if California passes the bill, keep in mind that you could still fly to those territories if you start missing it.

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