Daylight Saving time is ending in Mississippi — but for how long?

Published 10:48 pm Sunday, October 29, 2023

Clocks will be changed Sunday, Nov. 5, for the last time. The last time this year, that is.

Daylight Saving Time will end in Mississippi and other areas that observe it, when clocks are rolled back one hour early Sunday morning.

In March 2022, the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to approve the Sunshine Protection Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Brookhaven. The legislation was intended to make DST the new, permanent standard time.

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If the House also passed it, it would have advanced to the desk of the president, then been implemented Nov. 20, 2023, if signed. That did not happen, however.

A new version of the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2023 (HR.1279), also titled the Sunshine Protection Act, co-sponsored by 29 representatives. The bill would make DST permanent and give states the option of participating.

Introduced in the House on March 1, it was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce the same day, then referred by that committee on March 10 to the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce. No further action has been noted.

In 2022, Hyde-Smith and bill co-sponsor Sen. Marco Rubio wrote a statement in support of the proposed changed.

“The process of having to reset our clocks is an irritatingly outdated practice that we should ditch,” the statement read. “We should instead embrace DST as a critically important way to realign daylight time to Americans’ most productive hours, while also improving public health and the American economy.”

Extending DST for the entire year will provide “significant health benefits” according to research, the letter says.

“Studies suggest that we would see advantages to Americans’ public health, including reduced risks of seasonal depression, cardiac problems, and strokes. Children exercise more during DST, and adults spend substantially more time engaged in pedestrian, cycling and other recreational activities.”

DST is also expected to boost public safety, reducing traffic accidents as traffic patterns shift to being more in the daylight hours, and reducing crime. A Brookings study suggests it would bring a 27 percent reduction in robberies committed during the evening hour of gained sunlight, with the overall daily rate dropping by 7 percent.

“Extending DST to last the entire year would also spur the economy,” the statement continued. “A JP Morgan Chase study found that Americans experience decreased economic activity while not on DST, a drop that could be avoided by making daylight saving permanent. It would also benefit our nation’s agricultural sector, which ends up disproportionately affected twice a year through disruptions between farmers’ schedules and their supply chain partners. Several studies also suggest that it would lead to greater energy savings.”

The act will not alter time zones, change the total number of hours of sunlight per day, or mandate states and territories that do not observe DST suddenly be forced to do so.