(NEXSTAR) — In just over a week, we’ll be getting an extra hour of sleep as daylight saving time comes to an end.
The twice-a-year changing of the clocks is a largely disliked tradition – so why does South Dakota still have to observe daylight saving?
While it’s a simple question, the answer is far more complicated.
Since the early 1900s, the U.S. has had a back-and-forth relationship with daylight saving time. It was a wartime measure at first, until it was repealed in 1919, the University of Colorado Boulder explains. It came back in 1942 during World War II before Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966 to make the bi-annual clocking-changing the norm.
We tried sticking to daylight saving time (the time between March and November) year-round in 1973 in response to the national energy crisis. Americans appreciated it at the time, but it quickly became unfavorable as parents began worrying about traffic accidents and the safety of their children, who were now going to school before the sun came up.
In the fall of 1974, then-President Gerald Ford signed a bill to put the U.S. back on standard time for four months.
Since then, state and federal lawmakers have tried many times to stop changing the clocks.
Under the Uniform Time Act, there are only two ways the U.S. can ditch daylight saving time. Either Congress has to enact a federal law, or a state or local government has to get permission from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to stay on permanent standard time — which is what the U.S. observes between November and March — not permanent daylight saving time.
This year alone, lawmakers in nearly 30 states have tried to put an end to daylight saving time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
South Dakota is not one of those states.
Last year, Rep. Ernie Otten (R) introduced a bill that would put South Dakota on permanent daylight saving time if Congress were to give states the power to do so. It passed in the Committee of Commerce and Energy, but no other action was taken on it.
In 2021, Rep. Charlie Hoffman (R) introduced a similar bill that passed the Committee of State Affairs but then stalled. Another bill, introduced in 2020 by Rep. Lana Greenfield (R), also failed to become law.
Bills introduced in Congress have faced similar fates.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla), brought forth the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023, which would make daylight saving time permanent, effective in November. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) introduced a bill that would allow states to observe daylight saving time year-round. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) penned a similar bill that also called for the Government Accountability Office to provide Congress with the results of a study on implementing daylight saving time year-round.
All three bills were referred to committees and have remained there ever since.
“It’s frustrating that the committee won’t bring it for a hearing or markup because it’s such a bipartisan, widely supported issue. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, daylight savings affects everyone,” Norman said in a statement shared with Nexstar via email on Thursday.
Ultimately, without Congressional action, South Dakota and the majority of the U.S. will continue to observe daylight saving time and the twice-a-year tradition of changing the clocks.
We’ll fall back an hour on Nov. 5. Then, on March 10, we’ll spring forward an hour.