What is the most nonsensical thing every Texan will do at the same time this weekend?
You guessed it. We will “fall back” when our clocks are set backward one hour in observance of daylight saving time.
This strange ritual that has become ingrained in our lives boasts an interesting history. In 1784, Benjamin Franklin published a satirical essay in a French newspaper suggesting that Parisians could save $200 million through “the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.” Many people attribute the origin of the idea of daylight saving time to our Founding Father’s epistle.
In the United States, the clock-changing practice began just over 100 years ago, in 1918, when Congress decided to manipulate time by passing the Standard Time Act to save energy and create time zones. Back then, coal was our exclusive energy source and ensuring that Americans had more daylight working hours made sense.
Now, it’s hard to find reasons to support the continued observance of this practice. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy assessed the effect of observing daylight saving time on national energy consumption, finding that resetting our clocks amounts to a reduction in our total energy consumption of 0.02 percent.
The practice of changing our clocks has other significant drawbacks. Studies also indicate that we’re more likely to get sick, be less productive and frankly just exhausted directly following the time change.
Those of you who already voted in the constitutional amendment election currently underway know that there are 10 propositions on the ballot. There should’ve been an 11th: the proposal to end the process of changing our clocks twice each year.
During the legislative session that ended in May, we filed legislation seeking to end this primitive practice. Joint resolution 117, if passed, would’ve allowed Texans the opportunity to vote whether to stay on standard time year-round or daylight saving time year-round. HJR 117 passed the House 133-9. Frustratingly, once the bill reached the Senate, it was never referred to a committee, so it died when the legislature adjourned in May.
Had the bill passed in the Senate, it would’ve been the first time since daylight saving time was enacted over a century ago that voters in Texas would’ve had the opportunity to vote to end the biannual clock changing process.
Though we were unsuccessful in our quest to give you, Texas voters, a chance to finally end the illogical practice of changing our clocks, we’re moving forward with plans to file the legislation again in the 87th Legislative Session, which begins in 2021.
In the meantime, we urge you to contact your state legislators, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Gov. Greg Abbott to implore them to move this legislation forward next session, so that this weekend will be one of the last times we have to “fall back.”