Clare County Review & Marion Press Columns

Pat’s Bits and Pieces: OMG, It’s time to change those clocks again?

“Spring forward” means summer is right around the corner, doesn’t it?

Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday morning and just eight days later on the 20th the calendar says “March Equinox!” That’s supposed to be the first day of spring, at least according to the calendar … but, well, we will see.

I thought this year was the end of changing clocks every spring and fall. Turns out that didn’t happen.

After checking on the Internet, I found a March 1 press release on the subject that said, “Ahead of Daylight Saving Time, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023 for the 118th Congress. The legislation would end the antiquated practice of changing clocks twice a year.”

That measure formerly passed in the senate but was never voted on in the house. U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL) has now introduced companion legislation in the House.

Senator Rubio said, “This Congress, I hope that we can finally get this done.”

Personally, this writer doesn’t care which way they go, standard time, or daylight savings time, I just wish they would leave it alone, so I wouldn’t have to lose sleep or adjust to going to bed and waking up earlier (or later) twice every year. That doesn’t even mention what a pain it is, changing all the clocks.

That got me internet surfing again. I was wondering why in the world we ever started messing around with the time in the first place.

Hard to believe, but I found out that the idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784, in an essay, “An Economical Project.”

It was supposed to save time and money by adding more daylight in the evening hours.

It didn’t fly then, but the idea was advocated seriously by London builder William Willett in 1907 in the pamphlet, “Waste of Daylight” He suggested turning clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of four Sundays in April, and turning them back by the same amount on four Sundays in September. When questioned as to why he didn’t simply get up an hour earlier, Willett replied with typical British humor, “What?”

Britain passed an act on May 17, 1916, and Willett’s scheme of adding 80 minutes, in four separate movements (20 minutes each) was put in operation on the following Sunday, May 21, 1916. Reportedly there was a storm of opposition, confusion, and prejudice against the whole idea.

I can believe that. It’s hard enough to remember to turn the clocks ahead once and back once a year!

By 1925, a law was enacted by Parliament that Summer Time should begin on the day following the third Saturday in April. The date for closing of Summer Time was fixed for the day after the first Saturday in October.

During World War II, clocks in Britain were even put two hours ahead during the summer. This became known as Double Summer Time and clocks stayed one hour ahead there during the winter months.

In the United States during World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round Daylight-Saving Time, called “War Time,” from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945.

By 1966, some 100 million Americans were observing Daylight Saving Time based on their local laws and customs. Congress decided to step in and end the confusion, and the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was signed into law in April of that year by President Lyndon Johnson. It scheduled Daylight Saving Time to begin on the last Sunday of April and to end on the last Sunday of October.

While Nixon was president, the beginning and ending dates were changed again. He implemented the Daylight-Saving Time Energy Act and on January 6, 1974, clocks were set ahead.

On October 5, 1974, Congress amended the Act, and Standard Time returned on October 27, 1974. Daylight Saving Time resumed again on February 23, 1975 and ended on October 26, 1975.

In 1986 Federal law was set to begin Daylight-Saving Time on the first Sunday in April and end it at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended Daylight-Saving Time in the U.S. again. Beginning in 2007, Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. began at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ended at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.

Congress needs to “get on the clock” and make something stationary; if we keep extending it, we may just end up with year-round Daylight Saving-Time once again anyway.

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