RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A proposal to introduce Virginia year-round daylight saving time has failed in the state Senate.
Democrats and Republicans voted for and against the bill, introduced by Sen. Richard H. Stuart (R-King George), who told colleagues on Tuesday he wished he had a better reason to bring the measure forward.
“But I’m really tired of changing the clocks twice a year,” Senator Stuart told the Virginia Senate. “I’m not sure why we did this to each other.”
Virginia, like most states, observes Daylight Saving Time from March through November and Standard Time the rest of the year. Under the system, clocks are advanced or “advanced” by one hour on the second Sunday in March and then retarded or “backward” by one hour on the first Sunday in November.
Supporters of the measure said they backed efforts to allow more daylight later in the day, with critics saying a change would wreak havoc on transit systems and create confusion when doing business and traveling to nearby states with different time zones, like Maryland and North Carolina.
State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) said Virginia must coordinate the switch to Daylight Saving Time or Standard Time with its sister states. Other opponents said it should be left to Congress to decide on a statewide change.
Lawmakers and experts have advocated scrapping seasonal clock changes twice a year – citing various health concerns – but there is disagreement over whether to make daylight saving time or standard time permanent.
A permanent daylight saving time would bring later sunsets, and a year-round standard time would result in earlier sunrises and earlier darkening in the evenings.
The biannual time changes have been associated with an increased risk of car accidents, seasonal depression, obesity and more.
Even if the measure passes both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly and is signed by Governor Glenn Youngkin, states cannot implement permanent daylight saving time unless Congress enacts a law granting the authority to do so.
Last March, the US Senate voted to end the biannual tradition and make daylight saving time permanent, but legislation stalled in the US House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) told the chamber that the US Senate inadvertently passed the measure and urged her peers to oppose the effort.
Stuart’s bill fell through when it came time to vote, with 18 senators voting to move the bill forward and 21 opposing the proposal. But there was no consensus between the parties as the bill drew support and opposition from both sides of the aisle.