NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Daylight saving time is a divisive issue nationwide — but not a new debate.
This year, those of us in Connecticut will turn back the clocks an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday. If it was up to state politicians a century ago, that wouldn’t be the case.
As the debate usually goes, daylight saving time was established in the early 1900s as a wartime measure during World War I.
Changing the clocks has been controversial ever since, being repealed at the national level in 1919, and then returning in 1942 during World War II. Daylight saving time has been “permanent” since being passed by Congress in 1966.
Last year, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent starting this year, but it was never approved by the House of Representatives.
State legislatures around the nation have introduced legislation in recent years around daylight saving time. Massachusetts, for example, has commissioned a study to see the potential benefits of making the time change permanent. Arizona and Hawaii, however, don’t observe daylight saving time at all.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there were three efforts to change daylight saving time in Connecticut. Those bills, filed by two Democrats and one Republican, all failed.
One proposal would have ended daylight saving time if Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island also eliminated the practice. Another would require the state to adopt Atlantic Standard Time if those three states did the same — and if the change is approved at the federal level. The third would have ended it no matter if other states did the same.
However, Connecticut actually banned the practice of observing daylight saving time in 1923, according to connecticuthistory.org.
“This did very little to simplify matters, since many businesses simply ignored the rule,” the website reads. “Between the end of April and the end of October, the clocks in church steeples and courthouse cupolas and on the sidewalks of Hartford might show Eastern Standard Time, but the moment you stepped through a door into a bank, store, or restaurant, the clocks all displayed Daylight Saving Time.”
It points out that while Travelers Insurance Company observed standard time, it still required workers to show up an hour early. Other businesses did the same.
A Hartford jeweler was even threatened with being arrested for setting his clock ahead an hour. that case went to the state’s supreme court ,which ruled the law was constitutional.