Daylight saving time in Texas could be put to a vote in November

A new bill has been proposed in the Texas Legislature that would put daylight saving time on this year's November ballot.

Austin-area Representative Vikki Goodwin introduced House Joint Resolution 80. 

If the bill is passed, it would give voters the choice to observe standard time year-round or observe daylight saving time.

The debate about daylight saving time in Texas has been going on for some time. The closest a bill on daylight saving time came to getting passed was in 2015, when House Bill 150 cleared a committee and reached the House floor

Daylight saving time bills were also proposed in 2019.

Dr. Vivek Goswami, an Austin-based cardiologist with St. David's HealthCare, previously spoke about the negative health consequences associated with time changes

"We've seen a 24% increase or uptick in heart attacks in the days to weeks following a time change. I mean, there's an increase in fatal car accidents. There's an increase in stroke, there's an increase in mental health illness, including depression. There's even an increase in various immune mediated disease states, including colitis," Dr. Goswami said.

The U.S. Senate passed a similar bill in March 2022 to end time changes but the Sunshine Protection Act, as it was called, stalled in the U.S. House before eventually dying with the new installation of Congress.


What is daylight saving time?

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, daylight saving time, or DST, started in the U.S. in 1918 as a way to create more sunlit hours when the weather is the warmest. 

During the long days of summer, the sun rose in some northern regions between 4 and 5 a.m., when most non-farmers were asleep. Sunset happened before 8 p.m. and people turned on lights. By moving the clocks ahead an hour, backers believed the country could divert a bit of coal-fired electricity to the military instead of using it for an hour of home power. It was again adopted in World War II.

After each war, Congress rescinded the national laws, but many people liked the extra hour of sunshine at the end of summer days, so some states and even cities observed daylight saving time while others kept standard time year-round. That meant driving relatively short distances could result in a time change or three.

By 1966, airlines and other clock-watching businesses tired of such quirks and pushed Congress to pass the Uniform Time Act. It codified daylight saving time, although it has been periodically modified, particularly the start and end dates. The only states not observing daylight time are Hawaii and Arizona, except for the latter’s Navajo reservations, which do.

DST is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the state of Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Indian Reservation).