On Tuesday, the Senate voted unanimously to pass the Sunshine Protection Act. If approved in the House of Representatives and signed by President Joe Biden, Daylight Saving Time would become permanent across the United States in 2023.
What would this mean for San Antonio?
Well, first of all, we would no longer need to change the clocks twice a year, losing an hour of sleep in spring. Nice!
Additionally, from early November through early March, the sun would set an hour later than usual. This means brighter evenings, with the earliest sunset occurring closer to 6:30 p.m. rather than 5:30 p.m. as observed with Standard Time.
It also means later sunrises in winter. From late December through early January, the sun would rise close to 8:30 a.m.
The origins of Daylight Saving Time
While many cite Benjamin Franklin as the “Father of Daylight Saving Time,” this is just a bit of an exaggeration from a joke that the founding father made during one of his trips to France.
Franklin notoriously made fun of the French for their perceived laziness, as they would sleep in past sunrise. He suggested, as a joke, that the French would save candles by changing their clocks so that people would get up out of bed earlier in the morning. This quirky quip didn’t actually result in the physical changing of clocks.
In reality, people have been suggesting seasonal changes to time-keeping for centuries. But it wasn’t until World War I, when conserving fuel was important, that countries made Daylight Saving Time official.
In order to reduce the need for artificial light and thus saving fuel, Germany became the first country to turn the clocks ahead by one hour in 1916. European countries followed, with United States jumping on board in 1918.
The use of Daylight Saving Time in the United States was inconsistent after the Great War. This led to confusion, prompting the Uniform Time Act of 1966, requiring states that observe DST to begin at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in April. The law does NOT require every state to observe DST, and to this day, Arizona and Hawaii observe Standard Time year-round.