Daylight Saving Time Proposition 7: Will California Abandon Time Changes?

The Golden State could be getting even more sunshine in winter evenings after voters in California backed a proposition that could see it making daylight saving time permanent.

On the ballot for the midterm elections Tuesday was Proposition 7, which asked California voters whether or not they agreed to stop changing their clocks twice a year. Just two days earlier, the state fell back to standard time, in which California, along with most of the U.S., gained an hour of sunlight in the morning but lost one in the evening.  

With more than 3 million ballots counted, some 60.3 percent of voters voted yes, while 39.7 percent of people opposed the proposition, according to DesertSun.com.

GettyImages-1058496588 A voter takes outside a polling place in California's 25th Congressional District on November 6 in Agua Dulce, California. People in the Golden State have voted in favor of ending time changes. Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Daylight Saving Time Act came into force in 1949 in the U.S., requiring clocks to be set forward by an hour every spring and fall back an hour every fall.

Democratic Representative Kansen Chu of San Jose put forward the proposal, arguing that time changes are dangerous. Heart attacks and car accidents increase when people lose an hour of sleep by putting their clocks forward every March, he told the Associated Press, citing a 2009 Michigan State University study.

“It’s a public safety measure, and I don’t know anybody who really enjoys doing this adjustment of their schedule twice a year,” he said.

He argued that keeping daylight saving time permanent would mean that children could spend more time outside during late afternoons in the winter, and people would go out for dinner more during those months, which would help businesses.

However, any change still requires the backing of a two-thirds majority in Congress, as well as a change in federal law.

Year-round daylight saving time would mean the sun won't rise until 8 a.m. on some winter months in California. Democratic state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who represents Ventura County, told the AP this could lead to more accidents during the morning commute.

"I just don't share this belief that this is a major crisis," she said.

Republican state Senator Jim Nielsen said in June: “It’s fixing something that is not broken. Our society has acculturated itself to daylight savings time. I think it would create too much confusion to change it again," The Mercury News reported.

Hawaii and Arizona (with the exception of Navajo Nation) do not recognize daylight saving time. In March, Florida became the first state to approve year-round daylight saving time, but the move still requires the approval of Congress.

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