Currently, California follows the biannual ritual of moving the clocks forward an hour in spring and turning the clocks back in fall. With the 2018 election, California is deciding if the Legislature could use prop. 7 to change the daylight saving time law for itself as allowed by federal law.
California voted to join federal daylight saving time with 1948 passing Proposition 12. The wording of the proposition allowed Californians to decide if we would continue to adhere to daylight saving time, by voter approval every two years.
Prop 7 will change the daylight saving time law to allow the state legislature to make changes to daylight saving time, within the confines of federal law, with a two-thirds majority. This is how most laws are passed in California.
The proponents took some time to write about the dangers of changing our clocks both internally, and externally, in the voter information guide. Arguments for prop 7 mention how road collisions, and on the job, accidents increase by a few percentage points with the time change.
They also mention the risk of heart attacks increasing when we “spring forward” by 25 percent. They do admit that the inverse is also true when we “fall back” and the chance of heart attacks drop by 21 percent.
The opposition argues that it would be dark in the morning and that would be harder on people’s morale than just changing their clocks. They cite the decision by President Nixon, in 1974, when he declared emergency full-time daylight saving time. The emergency daylight saving time was supposed to last 12 months but was ended after 10 months.
They follow up by saying that those who have religious services will be doing them when it is dark rather than when it is light. That children will be waiting for the bus to school in the dark.
The law does state that the plan is to try to get California on daylight saving time all year round. More importantly, it leaves a way out if it doesn’t work so that voters wouldn’t have to wait two years to vote to fix the problem.
The proponents talk about prop 7 as if voting yes will change the time rules of daylight saving time immediately. They talk about the benefits of one time all year round, and the deficits of having daylight saving time.
If it is a matter of convenience as the opposition says, wouldn’t it be best to start experimenting and seeing how voters feel after the changes are being tried? If having the clocks ahead by an hour all year round is so bad, is having standard time all year round any worse?
Shouldn’t the arguments of either side be more directed toward giving California Legislature the power to change our daylight saving time with a two-thirds majority vote? The benefits and deficits of giving California Legislature more power vs leaving it in the hands of the voters is what this proposition is really about. That is for the California voters to decide this election.