Current Events

How Come We Say "Don't Mess With Texas" But Allow a Twice-a-Year Time Change?

Is this re-set really needed twice a year?
Is this re-set really needed twice a year? Photo by Margaret Downing

We're in the 21st Century but every year we're all re-enactors - willing or not — trapped in an premise embraced during World War I. This particular philosophy: that Daylight Savings Time is good for us.

Most of you bleary-eyed readers are probably thinking this morning it's not.

Sunday morning was bad enough — especially for folks headed for church who walked in halfway through the sermon. Did you run around changing all the non-smart-phone clocks in your house? Did you know many people are never up to the task of changing their car clocks and just wait out the months until the right time kicks in again? Are you one of them?

But today is the day everything really kicks in. You're still probably operating on your old schedule except wait, no you can't, and you need to convert and stop mourning that lost hour, right now.  You and your pets and your children are all having to deal with this change cold turkey. About the only saving grace is that Houston ISD and most other local school districts are on spring break this week, giving kids a week to come up to speed. Unless, of course, their parents have to drop them off early at daycare. And then everyone is still screwed and irritable.

Except why? Why do we need to change our clocks twice a year? Hawaii and most of Arizona don't. American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands don't.  The original idea in the early 20th Century was that by moving the hours of the day less artificial lighting would be needed for workers and in turn save fuel for the ongoing war effort. That tactic doesn't seem to be needed anymore.

Texas senators Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), Bob Hall R-Edgewood) and Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)  want us to stay on one time all year long. In Senate Bill 190, a bipartisan bill introduced by Menendez, Texas would stay on standard time year round starting on November 4, 2019. Menendez also said he's open to keeping us on Daylight Savings time year round. Whatever we want. Just make up our minds and stick to it. A similar bill, House Bill 49,  has been filed by state representative Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio)

There have been previous unsuccessful moves to do away with the time change before in the Texas Legislature. DST supports say it gives us more light in the evenings so people will get out more and exercise. Studies as to DST's benefits and liabilities are all over the place: some show more traffic accidents, others fewer when it is installed. Some say it helps businesses still and others say tired people mean more injuries on the job and worse things because their biological rhythms have gone blooey — at least for a while.

Individuals aren't the only ones who have to adjust.  The City of Houston announced that starting yesterday, the hours of operation at six neighborhood and recyling centers will change. So suck it up one more time but perhaps, if the Legislature can agree, this may be the last time change you'll ever have. 
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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing