Texas

Let’s ‘pick a time and stick with it.’ Texas lawmaker wants to end daylight-saving time

Do we still need Daylight-Saving Time?

Learn why we change clocks twice a year in this brief history of Daylight-Saving Time.
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Learn why we change clocks twice a year in this brief history of Daylight-Saving Time.

It’s that time of year again.

Time to “spring forward” and set the clock ahead one hour, as daylight-saving time begins Sunday.

As Texans get ready to have their sleep disrupted until their bodies sync to the new schedule some state lawmakers are working to make this the last time people in the Lone Star State would have to spring forward.

Proposals to eliminate daylight-saving time in Texas have been filed in the Legislature, as they have been for the past few sessions.

“I just think in 2019, as a country, we don’t need to be ‘springing forward’ and ‘falling back’ just because we did it in World War I to save energy,” said state Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio. “We just need to pick a time and stick with it.

“Let’s stop moving the clock,” he said. “We don’t need to do it.”

Only a handful of areas have actually ended daylight saving time.

Areas that don’t participate include Hawaii, most of Arizona (the Indian reservations there do observe it) and U.S. territories such as American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

For everyone else, daylight saving-time starts at 2 a.m. Sunday and ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3.

Texas plan

Plans to do away with daylight-saving time are outlined in Senate Bill 190, by Menendez, and House Bill 49, by state Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio. Both bills have been referred to committee. Larson’s proposal is scheduled for a hearing in the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, March 13.

The bills state that all time zones in Texas would be exempt from the law that establishes daylight-saving time. And if this proposal becomes law, it would go into effect Nov. 4, 2019, the day after clocks fall back for standard time.

Menendez said he’s not locked in to one time zone or the other and could change his bill to keep Texas in, or out, of daylight-saving time.

“The issue I’m most concerned about is the flipping back and forth,” he said. “I’m concerned with how it affects children and seniors and the potential for accidents

“It seems so silly to keep doing this,” he said. “We have more efficient ways to conserve energy.”

Supporters say daylight-saving time is not as useful as it once was and keeping standard time would help kids heading to school in the morning.

Critics say daylight saving time should stay. If there was no daylight-saving time, some Texans might lose their favorite part of the year — when it’s light later in the evening. They say DST provides more daylight during hours when more people drive on roads, which could prevent some accidents. And they say without daylight saving time, Texans might use more power year-round, which could cause gas and electric use and bills to spike and potentially lead to blackouts.

Without daylight saving time, the would rise before 6 a.m. in Fort Worth for more than four months of the year, from April 16 until Aug. 25. Sunsets would be no later than 7:41 p.m. On June 21, the longest day of the year, the sun would rise at 5:21 a.m. and set at 7:40 p.m.

Texas lawmakers have until the end of their legislative session, May 27, to pass any new laws.

Conserving energy

Daylight-saving time has been around for decades.

The goal, officials have long said, has been to make the best use of daylight and conserve as much energy as possible.

Daylight-saving time dates back to World Wars I and II, serving as a way to save fuel.

In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law a plan to have daylight-saving time run from the last Sunday of April through the last Sunday of October.

In 2005, President George W. Bush signed a broad energy bill that extended daylight-saving time, starting it on the second Sunday in March and ending it on the first Sunday in November. Any state that didn’t want to participate could pass a law opting out of it.

“This artificial changing of the time for no real particular ongoing reason, maybe we’ve seen the time for it to end,” Menendez said.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.

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