Austin, TX – Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) filed SB 2329 & SJR 86 to let Texans vote on keeping Daylight Saving Time. If the voters approve, this would group Texas with Arizona and Hawaii, that stay on one time during the year. Currently the Federal Congress does not allow for a shift in Daylight Saving Time only to stay on Standard Time. However, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s ‘Sunshine Protection Act of 2023” would allow states to adopt Daylight Saving Time DST, but it has not yet passed the US House of Representatives.
“When you think of hot-button public policy issues, what usually comes to mind are things such as property tax relief and school finance and pension reform. However, the issue of Daylight Saving Time has roused passions on both sides of the debate for over 100 years,” said Senator Bettencourt. “Texans like me want to be on one time, and the Federal Congress hasn’t given us the option to vote on Daylight Saving Time. SJR 86 gives Texans the opportunity to vote on the issue and express their opinion on the debate once and for all in the Lone Star State!” He added.
SB 2329 & SJR 86 would apply to all portions of Texas using Central Standard Time and Mountain Standard Time. If passed, the bill would require a vote on the November 7, 2023, General Election, where Texas voters would decide whether or not to keep Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time was first enacted in the United States during World War I but was repealed in 1919 over the Veto of President Woodrow Wilson. It was restarted during World War II, but it was repealed again three weeks after the end of the war during the Truman Administration. A patchwork quilt remained until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, which allows States to remain on standard time if they wish.
“Texans are tired of having to change their clocks and lose an hour’s sleep for no reason,” said Rep. Mike Schofield (R-Katy, Cypress), the House author of the bill (HB 417 & HJR 22.) “People would like to get home from work and play with their kids without it being dark half the time. There’s no reason not to fix this.”
One major justification given for Daylight Saving Time is that it reduces energy consumption. However, studies on the issue have been mixed, with a 2008 Department of Energy study finding that an extended Daylight Saving Time “saved about 0.5 percent (1.3 billion kilowatt hours) in total electricity per day” over a four-week extension. A University of California Santa Barbara study however found that when Indiana moved to a statewide system in 2006 it caused a 1% increase in residential electricity use. At the Federal level U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) passed the legislation out of the Senate to allow the States to go to a Daylight Saving Time option, but it awaits passage in the US House of Representatives to permanently end the twice a year adjustment of clocks.
“Instead of fall back and spring forward, it would be a fall vote to keep a Day Light Saving Time, but the language in the Texas Constitutional Amendment says it would await a Federal Court order or Congressional action before it could be implemented. Let’s get to one time in Texas anyway we can!” Concluded Senator Bettencourt.