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State lawmakers try again to make daylight saving time permanent

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As most of the United States prepares to move clocks ahead one hour this weekend, New York lawmakers are renewing a conversation about making daylight saving time permanent in the state. Congress passed a measure in 1918 to advance the clocks ahead one hour in the spring and back an hour in the fall to conserve daylight. However, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have reintroduced a bill to make daylight saving time a year-round occurrence in New York, arguing that the biannual time change affects people’s sleep and health without saving much energy.

Sponsor Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara believes that there are little benefits to the time change and that it actually causes employers to lose productivity, resulting in millions of dollars lost in the economy. Santabarbara is advocating for permanent daylight saving time in New York, citing research on the subject. The statewide time change will only take effect if New York’s neighboring states of Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania pass similar legislation.

However, states will have to wait for Congress to adopt any changes as federal law requires a uniform time standard. Nineteen U.S. states have passed legislation or resolutions in the last five years to make daylight saving time year-round, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Passing the measure in New York would put pressure on Congress to end the time change, which results in more people driving while fatigued and higher numbers of traffic accidents, crashes, and fatalities, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles and the National Road Safety Foundation.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine is in favor of abolishing daylight saving time and advocates for permanent standard time, citing misalignment with a person’s circadian biology, health, and safety risks. While some lawmakers are interested in the legislation, health experts differ on daylight saving time, with some advocating to make standard time permanent instead.