For any parent who has ever had to crawl out of bed to make sure a groggy teenager gets to school on time after the clocks “spring forward” an hour, the idea of doing away with daylight saving time probably sounds like a no-brainer.
But there is more to Proposition 7 than meets the sleep-deprived eye, which is why voters should reject the Nov. 6 ballot measure.
If passed, Proposition 7 would repeal the Daylight Saving Time Act, a ballot measure approved by California voters in 1949 that requires our clocks to fall back an hour each November and spring forward an hour each March.
With that out of the way, the Legislature would then be free to tinker, either by moving to year-round daylight saving time or by opting out of daylight saving time altogether and remaining on Pacific Standard Time year-round. The latter is what happens in Arizona and Hawaii.
While this may sound like a simple process, it won’t be.
Any bill to keep California’s clocks the same year-round would need to pass the Legislature with a two-thirds vote and get a signature from the governor. Then, if the decision was adopt year-round daylight saving time, the state would need permission from Congress and the Trump administration.
And for what?
Assemblyman Kansen Chu, whose Assembly Bill 807 put Proposition 7 on the ballot, argues that daylight saving time is an outdated practice that doesn’t conserve energy as originally intended because the long summer days just give Californians an excuse to keep their air conditioning on full-blast.
Instead, the San Jose Democrat says, changing the clocks reduces productivity and disrupts sleep patterns, increasing the risk of cancer patients and older people having a stroke or a heart attack. Traffic accidents also spike when the time changes.
But while there may be some evidence of all of this, cordoning off California comes with its own drawbacks.
Refusing to sync time with the rest of the country will prove costly. For example, in 2005, when Congress extended daylight saving time by a month, the Air Transport Association warned that keeping U.S. flights lined up with international travel schedules would cost $147 million a year.
There’s also the added cost of doing business. Coordinating deadlines and conference calls with people in other states would be a hassle, especially for corporations with operations in multiple time zones. Every day, Californians would have to remind people across the country what time it is, as other states continue to fall back and spring forward.
And that is saying nothing of the time the Legislature would spend debating this issue, as Chu works to get the two-thirds vote on a bill to set all of this into motion. The would be a waste considering all of the real crises that must be addressed, including housing, climate change and police reform.
California doesn’t have time for this. Vote no on Proposition 7.