RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A proposal to move Virginia to year-round daylight saving time failed in the state Senate.
Democrats and Republicans voted against and for the bill introduced by state Sen. Richard H. Stuart (R-King George), who told his colleagues Tuesday he wished he had a better reason for bringing the measure forward.
“But I’m really tired of changing the clocks twice a year,” Sen. Stuart told the Virginia Senate. “I’m not sure why we put ourselves through it.”
Virginia, like most states, observes daylight saving time from March to November and then standard time the rest of the year. Under the 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.
Supporters of the measure said they backed the effort to have more daylight later in the day, with critics saying a change would bring chaos for transit systems and cause confusion when doing business and traveling in nearby states with different time zones, like Maryland and North Carolina.
State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) said Virginia would need to coordinate shifting to daylight saving time or standard time with its sister states. Other opponents said it should be left up to Congress to decide on a nationwide change.
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.
Even if the measure passed both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly and was signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, states cannot implement permanent daylight saving time unless Congress enacts a law granting the authority to do so.
Last March, the U.S. Senate voted to end the biannual tradition and make daylight saving time permanent, but the legislation stalled in the U.S. House.
On Tuesday, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) told the chamber that the U.S. Senate passed the measure by mistake and called for her colleagues to oppose the effort.
Stuart’s bill failed to pass when it came time to vote, with 18 senators voting to advance the bill and 21 rejecting the proposal. But there wasn’t a consensus among the parties as the bill received support and opposition from each side of the aisle.