Why California Hasn’t Ditched Daylight Saving Time


At 2 a.m. on Sunday, clocks in California will jump forward an hour, as we make the switch to daylight saving time.

The impending loss of 60 minutes of precious sleep got me wondering why the state hasn’t abandoned the twice-a-year changing of the clocks, even though I’ve been hearing about that possibility for years.

It turns out to be complicated.

As a refresher: Each year in the United States, we spring forward an hour in March, and then go back to standard time in November. The idea is to shift an hour of sunlight from the early morning to the evening, when more people can make use of it. One of the oldest arguments for the time change is that it saves energy, but there have been many conflicting studies about whether that’s true.

Changing our clocks has been linked not only to disrupted sleep, as you might expect, but also to a higher risk of car accidents, heart attacks and more. The only states that don’t make the biannual switch are Arizona and Hawaii.

In November 2018, Californians overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to allow the Legislature to change the daylight saving time period. But the measure didn’t actually end it.

There have been several failed attempts since then to abolish the time change by making daylight saving time permanent. But federal law does not currently allow for such a thing. In the last five years, 19 states have enacted legislation or passed resolutions to move to daylight saving time year-round, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but they’re all contingent on congressional action.

California lawmakers are now taking a different approach. In the past few months, state legislators have introduced a pair of bills in the Assembly and Senate to make standard time permanent, which would not need federal approval.

Assemblyman Tri Ta, a Republican who represents Garden Grove, Westminster and other communities in western Orange County, said his bill would make good on a promise from the 2018 ballot measure. Californians “did not expect the Legislature to stall the will of the voters by refusing to take up this important measure,” he said in a statement.

Ta is working with Senator Roger Niello, a Republican who represents parts of Sacramento and Placer Counties and who introduced the other bill. Their proposals are part of a larger strategy with Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah, where legislators have proposed similar changes, to ultimately have much of the West on the same time zone, Niello told me.

As for why Niello took up the cause: “It’s something that I’ve become increasingly tired of myself,” he said.

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Two local nonprofits have banded together to bring night markets to San Francisco’s Chinatown each month for most of the year, NBC Bay Area reports.

Under the initiative, BeChinatown, a nonprofit in Chinatown, will run a night market on the second Friday of every month, beginning this week. The market will feature local food vendors serving Chinatown specialties, including AA Bakery, the Lucky Creation Vegetarian Restaurant and Dragon Papa Dessert, as well as stalls selling other goods.

The idea for the recurring event was inspired by the success of a two-day night market held in Chinatown last November, which drew thousands of San Franciscans for festivities, food and dancing. After the event, Manny Yekutiel of the Civic Joy Fund, a local nonprofit that funds community projects, gave BeChinatown a $100,000 grant to keep the initiative going.

The new funding will allow BeChinatown to run the markets through November. “The narrative around our downtown is that it’s empty,” Yekutiel told NBC. “Chinatown is its beating heart, and so I just think it’s important that we support it as much as possible.”

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