Sunday, March 14, 2010
With all the current discussions of states' rights and federal power, the federally mandated change to "daylight savings time" at 2am this Sunday morning may require a constitutional discussion.
Under the Uniform Time Act of 1966, states may exempt themselves from daylight savings time, however federal law preempts state choice regarding different dates of changing from daylight savings time:
(b) State laws superseded
It is hereby declared that it is the express intent of Congress by this section to supersede any and all laws of the States or political subdivisions thereof insofar as they may now or hereafter provide for advances in time or changeover dates different from those specified in this section.
Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and lengthened daylight savings time in section 110 (amending the Uniform Time Act of 1966 by striking "first Sunday of April'' and inserting "second Sunday of March''; and by striking "last Sunday of October'' and inserting "first Sunday of November").
However, because of the express preemption and the Supremacy Clause, states that had been perfectly happy with the previous routine of April/November had little recourse but to change to March/October.
John K Wilson has an amusing and provocative column over at Daily Kos on the constitutionality of Daylight Savings time ("It’s a typical Big Government program: steal an hour from us in March, give back our hour to us in November, and expect us to be grateful for getting back our own property").