If you’re like the vast majority of Americans, you don’t like changing the clocks twice a year and you’d like extra hour of daylight all year round. (Well, it’s not truly an “extra” hour but it’s an extra hour in the evening at the expense of an hour of darkness in the morning. You get the point.)
Why can’t Montana have permanent daylight saving time?
Like most states, Montana has passed legislation to switch to permanent daylight saving time. But Congress needs to approve individual states switching to permanent daylight saving time.
In 2022, the United States Senate allowed states to have their wish and get permanent daylight saving time. But the House of Representatives has not. It is not a partisan issue: Both the formerly Democrat-controlled House and the current Republican-controlled House have not passed the legislation. It’s a dysfunction of the House issue.
How did we get in this situation? Congress put daylight saving time into place in 1918. Then, in 1966 Congress approved the Uniform Time Act which allowed states to opt out of daylight saving time but prohibited them from making daylight saving time permanent. Hawaii and Arizona opted out of daylight saving time, so now they don’t have to change the clocks back and forth – but they lose the extra hour of sunlight in the evenings. But opting out of daylight saving time is not what most Montanans want; we want to make daylight saving time permanent. There’s a big difference. Like an hour of daylight in the evening.
In 1966, when Congress prohibited states from making daylight saving time permanent, there might have been a reason: without computers, time zone changes at state lines must be made manually and failing to do so would lead to uncertainty. (You don’t want trains on the same track at the same time because one is mistakenly on the other state’s daylight saving time.) But now almost every time piece is connected to the internet, and with GPS telling the time piece which state it is in, the time piece automatically changes the time when one crosses a state boundary. We know this when we drive to Idaho and at Lookout Pass our phones’ and vehicle’s clocks change automatically from Mountain time to Pacific time. Besides, it is likely that most states would adopt permanent daylight saving time so there likely would not be differences between states.
All of this can be solved by the House of Representatives if they get their act together. I wouldn’t hold my breath. In the meantime, we’ll need to set the clocks back and forth twice a year.