Proposed legislation would make it Daylight Savings Time year round

DOVER — Legislation announced Monday and set to be introduced today seeks to avoid Daylight Savings Time by moving Delaware and three neighboring states one time zone over.

Every year, Americans spring forward one hour on the second Sunday in March and fall back one hour on the first Sunday in November. The measure revealed Monday would, under certain conditions, shift Delaware from the Eastern to the Atlantic time zone, effectively placing the state in Daylight Savings Time permanently by setting the clocks forward one hour.

The proposal, which has bipartisan support, would request the U.S. Department of Transportation change the state’s time zone if Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania do the same.

“As the father of a toddler, I can attest to what a huge difference a one-hour time change can make for families trying to keep their heads above water,” Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, said in a statement. “The truth is that these disruptive time changes, which can have negative impacts on health and accident rates, are part of an outdated system whose usefulness has long since passed.”

Connecticut and Florida have considered similar proposals in recent years.

Time zones in the United States remain controlled by the federal government in Washington D.C., although states can legally opt out of Daylight Savings Time, which Arizona and Hawaii have done. States cannot, however, unilaterally opt out of standard time, meaning Delaware is forbidden from observing daylight savings time year-round (which would place it one hour ahead of its neighbors and the rest of the East Coast from November to March).

The United States followed daylight savings time briefly in World War I and for a longer period in World War II, although it did not become uniform and permanent until 1966.

“So many here in the Mid-Atlantic live in one state and work in another,” Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride, D-New Castle, said in a statement. “No one wants to lose an hour between home and the office. But if we all agree, we’ll never have to change our clocks again.”

Some studies have found the clock shifts Americans go through twice a year can be harmful to one’s health.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or mbittle@newszap.com. Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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