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California moves toward permanent daylight saving time

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Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

California voters approved a measure allowing the state to make daylight saving time (DST) year-round, instead of only from early March to early November. In order for this to actually be put in place, California legislature has to now approve it by a two-thirds vote, and then Congress would have to allow the deviation. The majority of Arizona is on permanent standard time, and year-round DST is followed by Hawaii and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Minor Outlying Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Proponents for the measure argued that shifting to year-round DST would allow for more sunlight during the winter and encourage people to stay out later, potentially infusing revenue to local businesses. Studies were also cited that claim that switching clocks had the effect of increasing instances of heart attacks and the potential for workplace injury (mostly as a result of the loss of sleep). “We started this practice to conserve energy during wartime,” said California state representative Kansen Chu, “but studies show that this is no longer the case. We are no longer saving energy, and studies have shown this practice increases risk of heart attacks, traffic accidents and crimes. It is time that we as a state reconsider whether this is still beneficial to our residents.”

Several studies back up the toll DST has on our bodies from losing that hour of time. In 2014, the American College of Cardiology said data showed a “25 percent jump in the number of heart attacks occurring the Monday after we ‘spring forward’ compared to other Mondays during the year.” Likewise, a separate study in 2015 said this interruption of circadian rhythm also increased the number of stroke hospitalizations the first two days after DST’s “spring forward.”

As The Verge’s Angela Chen argued earlier this year, perpetual DST saves us from these potential health issues, but the main advantage is the increased quality of life that comes from having darkness in the morning, versus darkness in the early evening. “For most people, evenings are when we unwind and see friends or exercise, and early darkness makes this far less appealing,” says Chen. “Meeting a friend for a 7PM meal in pitch-darkness is unpleasant.” The Verge’s Liz Lopatto is also on team perma-DST with a less subtle message of “Daylight saving time is hot garbage.”

Europe recently polled its citizens on whether to scrap daylight saving time: 4.6 million people responded, with 84 percent in favor of abolishing it. The measure still has to be approved by the European Parliament, and then individual member states would have the choice to opt out.

Whether California actually adopts year-long DST remains to be seen. In the meantime, it is sticking to what’s already in place — so the state’s residents will likely be setting their clocks ahead in March.