The Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill to permanently adopt daylight saving time on May 7, after the state Senate passed the same measure on April 20. Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law on May 13. However, you’ll still be an hour late for work if you don’t set manual clocks back an hour before 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 7.
That’s because daylight saving time is mandated by federal law under the Uniform Time Act of 1966, so it takes an act of Congress to allow states to adopt it permanently. Bills allowing for the change to permanent daylight saving time were introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate earlier this year, but none have made it out of committee.
For most of the U.S., daylight saving time starts at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ends on the same time on the first Sunday of November, essentially creating one 23-hour day in late winter or early spring and one 25-hour day in the autumn.
The idea of aligning waking hours to daylight hours to conserve candles was first proposed in 1784 by American Benjamin Franklin. In a satirical letter to the editor of The Journal of Paris, the American inventor suggested that waking up earlier in the summer would economize candle usage and calculated considerable savings. DST is a remnant of an era when society was based more on agrarian routines for work, which were governed by the length of daylight hours, which change seasonally because of the Earth’s axial tilt.
The U.S. Department of Transportation says daylight saving time saves energy, prevents traffic injuries and reduces crime. Yet Alabama joined Minnesota, Montana, Mississippi and Georgia in passing laws in 2021 to make the change permanent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Ohio and Wyoming passed similar laws in previous years.
The clock shifts sometimes complicate timekeeping and can disrupt travel, billing, record keeping, medical devices, and sleep patterns. Computer software generally adjusts clocks automatically.