Twice a year lots of places around the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe (as well as a couple places in the Middle East, South America, and Australia) change their clocks. The act has slightly different names, depending on where you live - but the goal is the same.
As days grow shorter in winter months and longer in summer months, the idea was largely to "shift" the workday to fit mostly within daylight hours and accommodate for related energy consumption needs during these times of the year.
The practice, in its current form, has existed in places around the world for a couple hundred years. The United States adopted it initially during World War I, and has since become an annual practice.
The annual "spring ahead" and "fall back" of the clock has been associated with an increase in car accidents, strokes, heart attacks, and other negative health issues.
Particularly in the spring, when we "lose an hour of sleep", there seems to be an annual discussion about eliminating the practice. There have been politicians who have introduced legislation to end the practice, but it has never really gained traction until now.
The road to eliminating "fall back" and "spring ahead"
Just yesterday (March 15, 2022), the United States Senate unanimously passed a measure to make Daylight Saving time permanent across the entire country. You read that right. Unanimously. You never hear of anything in government happening with complete consent.
Daylight Saving Time is what we start in March, ending in November. The bi-partisan bill, called "The Sunshine Protection Act", got all voting Senators to vote in favor of eliminating the "falling back" in the fall and the then-necessary need to spring ahead in the springtime by making Daylight Saving Time permanent.
The bill still needs to pass through the House of Representatives and get signed by President Biden, but with such widespread support in the Senate, it is hard to imagine the House not being able to muster a majority and the President not signing off on it.
Even if the House and President put their stamps of approval on the bill and it becomes law, it won't go into effect until 2023. That means we will have at least one more set of time changes before November of 2023, when we wouldn't "fall back" if the bill becomes law.
I don't have a major, personal investment in caring either way about if they eliminate the time change or not. I usually account for the "extra hour" or "lost hour" of sleep in my schedule on the weekends we see these annual time changes, so it doesn't impact me a ton. I just have to remember to adjust a couple clocks and adapt to different sunrise and sunset times.
While I am not personally impacted a ton, I do totally get that there are statistics that say it is harmful to people on varying levels. So between that and people just wanting to get rid of the inconvenience/confusion twice a year, I get the excitement about stopping the time changes.
One interesting thing to at least keep in mind if the bill becomes law is that for us in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the sun is going to come up especially "late" during a chunk of the winter.
If we don't "fall back", the sun will come up after most people go to work and school for a sizable part of winter. How late?
The last couple days of December and first couple days of January, the sun will come up in Duluth at 8:53 am. Granted, the sun will go down at 5:30 pm instead of 4:30 pm, but it will be a bit of an adjustment for a lot of people to be going to work and school in the dark for several months.
The sun would start coming up after 8 am in early November, getting later and later to its latest point at the end of December, as mentioned above. Sunrise would start getting earlier once again, but we wouldn't see the sun come up before 8 am again until the end of February. So that's almost 4 months of the sun coming up after 8 am.
Among opponents to making Daylight Saving Time permanent are the National Association of Convenience Stores, who commented on the subject to Congress, saying "we should not have kids going to school in the dark." It would also mean driving to work in the dark, dodging deer and being on the lookout for those kids on their way to school.
Now, normally we deal with coming home from work or school in the dark, with sunset usually coming as early as 4:30 during this timeframe. So we'd be trading light early in the day for light later in the day.
Is it better to go to work or school in the dark, or come home in the dark? I don't personally know. What do you think? Would you rather keep things the way they are, or enjoy more daylight later in the day while having some dark mornings during the winter?
The alternative, if you wanted to get rid of the time change, would be to get rid of Daylight Saving Time in favor of Standard Time, which is our "winter" clock timeframe. The effects of that would be that the sun would come up at its earliest around 4:15 am and go down around 8 pm in the heart of summertime.
I don't know about you, but I enjoy the late twilight hours of summer. So while I don't care a ton about just adopting a permanent Daylight Saving Time or just keeping the clock change as it is, I would 100% not be too excited about the sun coming up several hours before I wake up and having it go down around 8 pm at the latest. But that's just the opinion of a Northern Minnesotan that enjoys his summer evenings.