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Tired of daylight saving time? There's movement afoot to end it

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

Pennsylvanians — assuming they didn't forget — observed an annual tradition on Sunday: setting the clocks back an hour to observe the end of daylight saving time.

But the state took a step Monday to end the oft-maligned practice that contributes to disrupted sleep schedules as the sun sets earlier in the day.

A bill that would end the use of daylight saving time has passed the state House State Government Committee.

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First enacted during World War I to save energy, DST continued in various forms until the Uniform Time Act signed by former President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966 standardized the practice. Clocks move an hour forward on the second Sunday in March and remain on that schedule until the first Sunday of November, when they roll back.

DST is not required to be followed by states; Arizona and Hawaii do not observe DST.

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State Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, has repeatedly introduced bills to end the practice in Pennsylvania.

“Energy savings from changing clocks has historically been negligible at best,” Diamond wrote in his sponsorship memo this year, arguing that there's simply no good reason to continue the ritual in an era of climate control and the electric light.

“Changing clocks twice every year simply because 'we’ve always done it that way' is not enough reason to continue the practice," he said.

Historically, the argument in favor of DST has been that it saves energy by concentrating most human activities, school and work, during the limited daylight hours. That was particularly persuasive during the 1970s oil embargo, which saw energy prices spike across the board.

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But a 2008 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research used data from Indiana, which began observing DST in 2006. That study concluded that the change netted a 1% increase in energy costs: the reduction in lighting needs was offset by more demand for heating and cooling.

According to that study, Indiana households collectively spent $9 million more because of DST.

Diamond's bill will next go before the full Pennsylvania House of Representatives for a vote.

Matt Enright can be reached via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.