As most of the nation prepares to move back an hour for daylight savings time, California’s stalled attempt at making it permanent is facing new hope in next year’s legislative session in Sacramento.
In November of 2018 California voters overwhelmingly voted for Proposition 7, which would give Assemblymembers and Senators the authority to make daylight savings time year-round, effectively abolishing it. Spurred by the support of over two-thirds of voters, as well as the lower risk of car accidents and heart attacks that such a change would bring, Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) put in a bill proposal the very next month.
Assembly Bill 7 was soon being debated in the Assembly, where it quickly picked up steam. Both Assembly Democrats and Republicans were widely in favor of the bill, and it soon passed the Assembly 72-0. Little opposition was given, with only some school groups concerned that it being dark out as late as 8 AM could be a danger for children walking to bus stops.
However things soon stalled. In the Senate, Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) noted that his constituents who frequently crossed the Mexican border for work were concerned with the constant time changes when crossing the border. Many other Senators gave similar concerns.
As it was now stuck, Assemblyman Chu shelved the bill with the hopes of bringing it back next year. In September, constant constituent questions about its status made Assemblyman Chu finally give a statement regarding what was happening.
“I want to clarify that AB 7 is not dead and will be moving forward in January,” said Assemblyman Chu in his statement. My main goal will always be to stop the practice of switching back and forth, and I am dedicated to make this a reality. As this is an issue that impacts all Californians, I want to take the next few months to ask my constituents their thoughts on permanent daylight saving time vs. permanent standard time. It’s important to me that my constituents are heard and putting a pause on moving the bill will give me the opportunity to do more outreach.”
While states like Hawaii and Arizona don’t currently have daylight savings time, other states are currently trying to get permanent daylight savings. Florida even got through the legislative hurdle and recently passed its own law requiring daylight savings time be permanent year-round. But Florida is now facing what California would face if AB 7 is passed: Federal approval. By law, time changes need to be approved by the Federal Government.
But that is assuming California passes the bill. Right now Assemblyman Chu and other supporters are currently updating the bill to fix any issues traveling to or trading with Mexico would bring, as well as ironing out local issues over the changes.
AB 7 is currently set to return next year, after which California may get to see time change days become a thing of the past.