Time for a change? Pa. House passes bill making Daylight Saving Time permanent. What's next
If a bill passed by the state House on Monday eventually takes effect, Pennsylvanians could stop worrying about turning their clocks back in the fall and ahead in the spring because the state would be on Daylight Saving Time year-round.
“The growing consensus is for this,” said state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, R-Lehigh County, who introduced House Bill 335, which passed in a narrow 103-98 vote. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration and would only take effect if Congress also allows for a change.
State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Montgomery County, said the bill seemed to be one that doesn’t draw much attention, but has a big impact on people’s lives, much like legislation several years ago to allow fireworks in the state.
Now, Boyle said, his email inbox is “full” after every July 4 from constituents complaining about excessive fireworks in their neighborhoods. He also noted that under permanent Daylight Saving Times, sunrise in Philadelphia in December would be at 8:19 a.m. and at 8:39 a.m. in Pittsburgh.
Mackenzie wryly responded that the bill doesn’t change the amount of daylight available, it simply sets the hours that “people are utilizing in today’s economy.”
It is unclear whether the bill will pass the state Senate.
According to a recent op-ed in USA TODAY by U.S. Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the practice of setting the clocks back originated in Germany during World War I as a way to conserve coal and it spread worldwide.
They also noted that the U.S has gone back and forth on Daylight Saving Time before it caught hold in the 1970s during the oil crisis.
“In short, when the daylight saving rules have made people unhappy or change would benefit the country, we’ve typically changed the rules,” the senators wrote. “And we don’t know too many Americans who are happy about dark afternoons during the winter or losing an hour of sleep every spring.”
Murray and Rubio wrote the op-ed to tout their Sunshine Protection Act, which would extend Daylight Saving Time year-round so, in their words, “Americans can enjoy having sunlight during their most productive hours of the day and never have to worry about changing their clocks again.”
J.D. Prose is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network's Pennsylvania State Capital Bureau. He can be reached at email@example.com.