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I am looking at the vote results on HB 335, a bill specifying that the state of Pennsylvania will observe daylight-savings time permanently, should the US Congress authorize this. The whole bill is extremely short, and seems not to touch on any topic that divides the Democrats and Republicans in popular media. Yet, the vote was almost entirely along party lines. Why? What is so polarizing in this bill?

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  • I see a close vote with rationale that "answers would be based on speculation". I disagree -- there might exist minutes of Pennsylvania House of Representatives, some of those who voted might have made public statements, there might have been similar decisions in other jurisdictions with similar partisan split, where minutes/public statements exist, etc. – Boris Bukh May 8 at 1:32
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This is mostly a guess, but looking at the Wikipedia page on the matter, most educational associations (teachers' etc.) in the US support the opposite, i.e. permanent standard (rather than DST) time. Since educational associations generally lead Democratic, this may have something to do with it.

I'll also note that 15 other states have passed similar laws with Pennsylvania's, i.e. favoring permanent DST. The list is somewhat Republican/red-state leaning:

  • In 2018: Florida (California voters authorized such a change in 2018, but legislative action is still pending).
  • In 2019: Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington.
  • In 2020: Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming.

But I don't know how the individual state legislatures split on this...

Another interesting point from Wikipedia:

Permanent DST in the US was briefly enacted by President Nixon in 1974, in response to the 1973 oil crisis. The proposal was initially supported by an estimated 79% of the public; that support dropped to 42% after its first winter, owing to the harshness of dark winter mornings that permanent DST creates.

Also an interesting point from Nat Geo:

Businesses tend to support DST because the sudden change produces an extra hour of evening daylight and induces people to go out and spend.

And likewise

"As early as 1930, when there was the first attempt to pass a statewide law in California for daylight saving, the principal backers of that legislation was the petroleum industry," Downing says. "They understood, if you give Americans more daylight at the end of the day, they will go out to the ballpark or the mall. And we don't walk there. We drive. It's been a reliable boon to gasoline consumption." [...]

The National Parent Teacher Association has previously spoken out against implementing permanent daylight saving, particularly during winter months, on the grounds that the darkness in which school children would commute in the mornings would present a safety hazard.

So it does seem to be bit of a business vs education lobby split that may influence the party positions.


According to the Washington Post, the industry isn't quite all-in-favor though of DST though. It looks like the TV entertainment business isn't that happy with it...

We know that businesses think daylight saving time is good for the economy — just look at who lobbied for increased DST in 2005: chambers of commerce. The grill and charcoal industries, which successfully campaigned to extend DST from six to seven months in 1986, say they gain $200 million in sales with an extra month of daylight saving. When the increase to eight months came up for a vote in 2005, it was the National Association of Convenience Stores that lobbied hardest — more time for kids to be out trick-or-treating meant more candy sales.

But not all industries love daylight saving time. Television ratings tend to suffer during DST, and networks hate it. “Come March, when daylight savings time and the HUT [households using television] level goes down in the early evening, it really takes its toll on the 8 o’clock hour, particularly for comedies,” Kevin Reilly, then chairman of Fox Entertainment, said in 2014, explaining his decision to cut the network’s 8 p.m. comedy hour.

Airlines have also complained loudly about increased DST. When DST was lengthened, the Air Transport Association estimated that the schedule-juggling necessary to keep U.S. flights lined up with international travel would cost the industry $147 million. DST hurts other transportation interests, too: Amtrak is known to halt its overnight trains for an hour when clocks change in November so they don’t show up and leave from their 3 a.m. destinations early. In the spring, trains have to try to make up lost time so they can stick to the schedule.

However, the last para only seems to apply to changes in time over the year. Perhaps the transportation industry would not mind either time as long as there are no changes over the year.

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    It comes down to when you want the daylight to happen, earlier in the day to start it or later in the day so it is easier to do things after school/work. – Joe W May 4 at 21:09
  • Thanks for the answer. It is interesting and sounds somewhat plausible, but not sufficiently so for me to "accept" it as the right answer. Please do not interpret the lack of a green check mark as a lack of gratitude! – Boris Bukh May 6 at 1:14
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    In the modern computing age I have a hard time taking the transportation industry seriously that moving the clocks is hard to do and costs a lot of money. – frеdsbend May 7 at 19:46
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    @fredsbend working in the modern computing industry I can tell you timezones and clock changes are a perpetual source of bugs. They rely on interactions between software and hardware that is not always under a developer's control. – Jontia May 7 at 22:15

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