Even if signed, General Assembly effort would not apply unless neighboring states also eliminate Daylight Saving Time.
The biannual time shifts that leave so many Delawareans disoriented and tired every spring and fall soon could be a thing of the past, thanks to legislation that cleared the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 17 to 4.
Introduced in April, Senate Bill 73 would add Delaware to a growing list of states seeking a way out of the unnecessary dangers that result from the switch on and off of daylight saving time.
“This might seem like a trivial effort to some, but there is a growing body of evidence that these clock changes are contributing to some serious health risks, including spikes in heart attacks, strokes and pedestrian fatalities,” said prime sponsor Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride. “My colleagues and I here in the Delaware Senate – and in legislatures around the country – believe the time has come for Delaware and the rest of the nation to have a conversation about whether this social experiment still makes sense from a public policy perspective.”
More than half of the nation’s state legislatures are weighing bills to end the clock-changing – the most since the National Conference of State Legislatures began tracking the topic in 2014.
Earlier this year, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill to put the Evergreen State on Daylight Saving Time permanently, pending approval from Congress. Oregon lawmakers did the same last week. Florida’s legislature backed a similar proposal in 2018, the same year nearly 60 percent of California voters sided with a proposition to do the same.
The current piecemeal effort to do away with the time changes now sweeping across the country is directly linked to the Congressional rules that created Daylight Saving Time in 1966.
Under the Uniform Time Act created that year, states can legally exempt themselves from Daylight Saving Time altogether, something both Arizona and Hawaii chose to do quickly. Yet states cannot unilaterally opt to go with year round daylight saving.
Some, like Washington and Florida, are hoping Congress steps in.
McBride’s bill, however, is taking a different approach – one also being pursued by Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and South Carolina.
Senate Bill 73 would ask the U.S. Department of Transportation to move the First State into the next time zone to the east, known as the Atlantic Standard Time Zone. Such a request would only go forward if our neighbors in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland also agree to make the same switch.
“The goal here is not to put Delaware in a separate time zone on its own,” McBride said. “What we really want to do is let the elected officials in Washington, D.C. know what we are fed up with darkness before 6 p.m. We are sick of literally losing sleep. And the time has come to do something about it.”
Senate Bill 73 now heads to the House for final consideration.