Is it time to spring forward? Or fall back? Or how about the clocks just stay still from now on, because that’s the easiest plan?
Well, that’s the suggestion that California Assemblyperson Kansen Chu (San Jose) is floating via a bill that cleared its first committee this week almost as fast as it takes to manually reset a clock twice a year.
Other than a contextualizing preamble, AB2496 consists entirely of a single sentence: "It is the intent of the Legislature to establish United States Standard Pacific Time as the standard time within the state during the entire year."
Voters (for some reason) put Daylight Saving into place 67 years ago. That old special election proposition seems a little bizarre now: Prop 12 (1949) backers insisted that with California’s population exploding and our industrial sector expanding, Daylights Saving becomes "a necessity in heavily populated areas."
Urban congestion meant longer commutes, and an extra hour of daylight after you get home "increases public health and industrial efficiency" and relegates more working hours to "the cooler part of the day, reducing fatigue and industrial accidents."
It was also supposed to diminish juvenile delinquency (fewer night hours with which to loiter and steal milk crates, or whatever bad news kids did in the '50s), cut down on car accidents, and give moonlighting farmers more time to tend their crops and livestock.
We’re not sure whether or not factory workers of the 1950s did indeed manage to maim themselves less frequently in the summer months. And we cannot say for certain if fewer kids were out drag racing hot rods thanks to the annual clock spinning ritual. But Chu (and the seven members of the Senate committee who voted for it on Monday) apparently think modern Californians can avoid those hazards without the bi-annual time-wise hoodoo.
Daylight Saving Time was written into the state constitution in 1949, though, so it will take two-thirds of both houses and a voter ballot on top of the governor’s signature to put it to bed once and for all.
- AB249 [California Legislature]
- Senate Media Archive
- Prop 12, 1949 [UC Hastings]