In November 2018, Californians overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that promised to do away with the twice-a-year changing of the clocks that many of us have come to revile. Daylight saving time, it seemed, would soon be a thing of the past.
But just last month, our clocks sprang forward yet again. And later this year, we will almost certainly turn them back an hour as winter sets in.
There are a few reasons that Californians have not escaped the clutches of the biannual time switch, and I’ll walk you through them today. It gets a little complicated, so stay with me.
First off, the 2018 ballot measure gave California’s Legislature permission to end the clock-changing, but didn’t actually end it. (As a refresher: Each year, we spend four months in standard time and eight months, between March and November, one hour ahead in daylight saving time.)
So to eliminate the ritual, California lawmakers need to pass legislation that would either make daylight saving time or standard time permanent.
That may soon happen. Assemblyman Steven Choi, a Republican from Irvine, introduced a bill, A.B. 2868, in February that would make daylight saving time permanent in California. “I think people are really tired of switching back and forth,” he told me. (No argument there.)
But there’s yet another hurdle if Choi’s bill is approved. California would need permission from the federal government to go through with the change.
In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which allowed states to observe daylight saving time for part of the year or stay on standard time all 12 months, as Arizona and Hawaii do. But according to the law, states aren’t permitted to be on daylight saving time forever.
In the last four years, 17 states have enacted legislation or passed resolutions to move to year-round daylight saving time, but those changes are pending approval from Congress, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. California would join this list if it were to pass Choi’s legislation.
And, as you may have heard, Congress does appear to be inching closer to granting that permission.
The Senate last month unanimously passed a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent. “One has to ask themselves after a while: Why do we keep doing it?” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said about his bill, the Sunshine Protection Act.
If approved by the House and President Biden, the law would take effect in November 2023. And it would allow states to stay on daylight saving time all year round, as so many clearly want to do.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s travel tip comes from Alex Wiyninger, who lives in Bakersfield. Alex recommends Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park in north Los Angeles County:
“You have seen it in countless movies, TV shows, commercials and music videos. See where Kirk fought the Gorn in the original ‘Star Trek’ series, the Flintstones called Bedrock, Bill & Ted went on their Bogus Journey and so much more.
Vasquez Rocks is just north of Los Angeles between Santa Clarita and Palmdale. It is a pleasant place for a picnic and a hike. Who knows, some production might be shooting that day. If you are very quiet, they may let you watch.”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
We’ve recently been publishing your notes about why you love your corner of California.
If you’d like to submit a love letter to your California city, neighborhood or region — or to the Golden State as a whole — please email us at CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll keep sharing your missives in the newsletter.
And before you go, some good news
On a recent morning in Oakland, a team of five nursery workers loaded a pickup truck with a wheelbarrow, shovels, soil and 16 trees — pomegranate, apple, fig and olive.
Their task, planting trees in the East Oakland neighborhood of Sobrante Park, is one of five projects spearheaded by local organizations and city officials to revitalize predominantly Black and brown communities that have long faced higher levels of pollution, poverty and health problems.
There “used to be fruit trees in everybody’s yard,” Covanne Page, 33, a nursery technician at Planting Justice, a nonprofit distributing the fruit trees, told The San Francisco Chronicle. Growing up, Page said, he had lemon, plum and loquat trees in his yard.
“They don’t have that anymore,” he said of his neighborhood. Giving away fruit trees “is like bringing back how it used to be.”