Bill to end Daylight Saving Time takes step forward

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Last week, a state Assembly committee passed Assembly Bill 385, which would allow state voters to decide whether to retain Daylight Saving Time.

The Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications voted 9-2 to send the bill to its Appropriations Committee.

If enacted and if voters rescind Daylight Saving Time, California will be the third state to choose to decline observation of the time change.

“Daylight Saving Time is an institution that has been in place largely without question for more than half a century,” Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-San Jose), the bill’s author, said in press release. “I think we owe it to the general public to be given the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not it ought to be continued.”

Chu argues, “In addition to the lack of dramatic energy savings, there are also several public health issues that arise out of DST. For example, the number of recorded heart attacks, industrial and workplace injuries, and traffic accidents and fatalities also increase in the days following the time change.”

In 1949, 55 percent of the state’s voters approved Proposition 12, which established Daylight Saving Time in California from the last Sunday in April until the last Sunday in September.

According to the committee’s report, The California Energy Commission researched DST and published a paper in 2007 that examined whether and how much the Policy Act of 2005 changed daily electricity. The extension of DST to March 2007 had little or no effect on energy consumption in California, according to a statistical analysis. The most likely approximation is a 0.2-percent decrease during these three weeks.

The intended benefits, besides energy savings, created from the later daylight in the evening from Daylight Saving Time was to provide a boost to tourism and shopping industries, the report stated.

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