RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A state Senate committee advanced a proposal to move Virginia to year-round daylight saving time after senators revealed their confusion about the difference between it and standard time.
State Sen. Richard H. Stuart (R-King George) said he didn’t have a preference when presenting his bill to the Virginia Senate General Laws and Technology Committee on Wednesday. He even sided with advocates who called on him to change his proposal to move to permanent standard time.
“I don’t understand why we put ourselves through this twice a year,” Sen. Stuart said. “I just want to stop changing the time.”
One Republican on the committee, state Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier), said she backed amending the legislation to year-round standard time before telling members that she “erred” after realizing that she preferred daylight saving time because it leads to later sunsets.
After a few jokes, including Sen. Stuart asking whether everyone in the room was “thoroughly confused yet,” the initial language in the bill — for year-round daylight time — was voted on. In a 10-4 bipartisan vote, the committee moved the proposal forward.
Even if the measure passes both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly and is signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, states cannot implement permanent daylight saving time unless Congress enacts a law granting the authority to do so.
The U.S. Senate voted to end the biannual tradition and make daylight saving time permanent in March 2022, but the legislation stalled in the U.S. House. Federal law does not prevent states from moving to standard time.
Virginia, like most states, observes daylight saving time from March to November and then standard time the rest of the year.
Under the time system, clocks are set forward, or “spring forward,” an hour on the second Sunday in March and then turn back, or “fall back,” an hour on the first Sunday of November.
Lawmakers and experts have supported scrapping seasonal time changes twice a year — citing various health concerns — but there’s a difference of opinion on whether to move forward with making daylight saving time or standard time permanent.
Permanent daylight saving time would bring later sunsets, and year-round standard time would lead to earlier sunrises and make it darker earlier in the evening. The biannual time changes have been linked to an increased risk of car crashes, seasonal depression, obesity and more.
Previous efforts to stop the time changes have failed in the Virginia General Assembly. A Republican state delegate has proposed a study on the impact of daylight saving time in Virginia.