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California’s Daylight Saving Proposition Passed. Now What?

Scott Wilson / Flickr
 

Scott Wilson / Flickr

The Golden State is the closest it’s ever been to ending daylight saving time as we know it. But there are still many, many steps before any changes take effect.

On Tuesday, voters passed Proposition 7, which repeals the 1949 voter-approved measure establishing Daylight Saving Time in the state.

But its passage doesn’t end the twice-a-year clock switch automatically.

Now, the Legislature has the freedom to look at other options, including keeping daylight saving year-round or staying on standard time permanently. Their bill would need a two-thirds vote, the governor’s signature, and Congressional approval.

Democratic Assemblymember Kansen Chu, who authored the ballot measure, has been working on this for about three years. While he was originally pushing for year-round standard time, now he says he wants to pass a bill to make daylight saving time permanent.

“You have a lot of outdoor persons, youth leagues, parents and businesses, they say people tend to go out of their house when there’s still light out there,” he said.

He said extending the daylight hours could also reduce property crime. He also believes it’s bad for public health to change the clock.

There’s some evidence to back that up: the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports the forced shift forward can cause daytime drowsiness for weeks after the change. Some research has tied daylight saving to traffic collisions and heart attacks.

Not everyone is on board. Two California lawmakers — state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblymember Phillip Chen — wrote the argument against Proposition 7 in the voter guide.

“Yes, it's a minor inconvenience when we ‘Spring ahead’ and we lose that hour,” they wrote. “But avoiding these transitions is not worth the confusion with other states' times, and the months of dark mornings we'll have to endure if we have permanent Daylight Saving Time.”

Even if California passes a bill, actually changing our system would be a violation of federal regulations.

California could end up in the same situation as Florida. The state recently passed its own law making daylight saving time permanent, but it hasn’t taken effect because it hasn’t gotten Congressional approval yet.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio from Florida is pushing through two bills that could achieve this — one that would make daylight saving time permanent across the country, and one that would make it the standard only in Florida.

If the first one passes, it would make any new California daylight saving law valid. The Orlando Sentinel reports both bills are in the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and have not yet been discussed.

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