This past weekend, most of the United States set clocks back an hour as daylight saving time ended on November 5th. But two states – Hawaii and Arizona – do not observe daylight saving and stay on one time zone all year.
Federal law allows states to opt out of clock changes if they get federal approval. However, efforts by many states to lock into permanent daylight saving have stalled in Congress.
Clocks Fall Back Except in Arizona and Hawaii
At 2 am on November 5, digital devices and Internet-connected clocks automatically reverted to 1 am local time across most states as daylight saving ended.
The biannual ritual doesn’t apply to Hawaii and Arizona, which maintain their time zones year-round without switching clocks forward or backward.
Sunny States Prefer Less Shifting
Arizona has remained on Mountain Standard Time since 1968, citing the abundance of daylight hours the state already receives.
By skipping daylight saving, Arizona residents enjoy earlier sunsets in summer when daylight extends well into evening. Hawaii also has consistent sun exposure across seasons due to its equatorial location.
Federal Law Sets Path For Exemption
Under federal law, states can only exempt themselves from time changes by getting approval from the Secretary of Transportation to either adopt permanent standard time or permanent daylight saving time.
Congress would also have to pass legislation allowing nationwide daylight saving time for states to choose that option. States cannot permanently spring clocks forward without Congressional action.
Multiple States Seek Exemptions in 2023
Driven by arguments that clock switching is antiquated and detrimental, legislators in around 30 states introduced bills in 2023 to stop the practice.
But most efforts stalled, leaving the vast majority of states bound to continue changing clocks until Congressional intervention allows permanent daylight saving time instead.
Congressional Proposals Lack Momentum
While states broadly favor year-round daylight saving time, Congressional proposals on the issue have languished in committees without progress.
Bills introduced in 2023 by Senators Rubio and Johnson remain idle. Unless Congress acts, clock changing will persist as is.
Time Shifting Remains Controversial
Despite many considering daylight saving time an annoyance, opinions on its merits remain divided.
Hawaii and Arizona Stand Alone…For Now
Until other states gain federal approval to freeze clocks, Hawaii and Arizona will remain the only ones following standard time continuously or foregoing time shifts altogether.
The lack of Congressional action means most of the country will “spring forward” again on March 10, 2024.
But the push for clock consistency could eventually reach critical mass, resulting in more states joining Hawaii and Arizona.