TL;DR – The federal government ultimately decides on daylight saving time observation, but states can opt-out. California has tried to do so through Proposition 7, but it hasn't passed through Congress yet.
Why is there daylight saving time to begin with?
The Standard Time Act of 1918 first introduced daylight saving time in America during World War I to create more hours of sunlight and conserve energy resources. The concept was reintroduced again as "War Time" during World War II.
The agriculture industry was said to benefit from daylight saving time, as shifting that extra hour of sunlight to the evening allows for more time for farmers to work on their crops.
Another reason is energy conservation – studies have shown that the extra hour of sunlight in the evening leads to less energy usage overall.
Since times have changed, these arguments are not as compelling so Proposition 7 was offered to vote as a way for states to have the power to eliminate having to change the clocks.
What is Proposition 7?
California residents pushed and voted to eliminate daylight saving time so the state could permanently stay on one time – either standard or daylight. Proposition 7 would allow for this decision to be made by the state legislature.
A 'yes' vote supported a proposal that would let the California State Legislature, by a two-thirds vote, change the dates and times of the daylight saving time (DST) period to be consistent with federal law.
But I thought Californians voted to end Proposition 7 in 2018, why is there still daylight saving time in California?
Well, because California politicians just love to mess with your sleep schedule.
Seriously though...yes, that's true – voters did vote to end daylight saving time. However, it still requires approval from the state legislature and Congress for it to actually be implemented.
Some argue that changing the state’s time standard could disrupt commerce with other states, while others claim it’s simply not a priority for legislators.
On March 15, 2022, the US Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act, a bill that would not require states to change the time twice a year. This bill will need to pass the US House of Representatives and then needs to be approved by President Biden. If the Sunshine Protection Act were to pass the House and President, the last time change would be on March 2023.
So for now, us Californians are stuck changing the clocks twice a year. Enjoy your extra hour of sleep in the fall. But who knows, maybe someday California will join Arizona and Hawaii in permanently sticking to one time.
Until California officially says goodbye to daylight savings time, we’ll just have to keep springing forward and falling back. Sorry, sleepy folks. But hey, at least we get those extra precious hours of sunlight during the summer.