Goodbye summer time: Congressional committee in Mexico passes bill to eliminate time changes

Spring forward, Fall back could become a thing for the history books in Mexico next year as the slow gears of lawmaking have finally reached their last push and time changes in Mexico could officially end next June with a full congressional vote.

This year, on October 30, at 2:00 am, Mexico will set clocks back one hour, and this will likely be the last time this bi-annual tradition since 2001 will occur for most people in the country.

On Monday, a demonstration of 22 votes in favor, one against, and 11 abstentions, the Energy Commission of Mexico’s congress approved the Law of Time Zones, which repeals the Law of the Time System in Mexico, published in 2001, which established Daylight Savings Time.

This Monday, September 26, the commission approved that in Mexico there is a standard time that coincides with the time zones. In addition to the fact that a seasonal schedule will only be applied to the municipalities of the northern border area to maintain commerce with the United States which would continue to change its clocks twice a year.

The commission determined that it will apply a seasonal schedule in the northern border area in the municipalities of Ocampo, Acuña, Zaragoza, Jiménez, Piedras Negras, Nava, Guerrero, and Hidalgo, in the state of Coahuila; Anahuac, in Nuevo León; Nuevo Laredo, Guerrero, Mier, Miguel Alemán, Camargo, Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Reynosa, Río Bravo, Valle Hermoso, and Matamoros, in Tamaulipas.

Another will be applied to the municipalities of Janos, Ascensión, Juárez, Práxedis G. Guerrero, Guadalupe, Coyame del Sotol, Ojinaga, and Manuel Benavides, in Chihuahua. In addition, there will be another for the municipalities of Ensenada, Playas de Rosarito, Mexicali, Tecate, and Tijuana, in Baja California; and San Luis Río Colorado, Puerto Peñasco, General Plutarco Elías Calles, Caborca, Altar, Sáric, Nogales, Santa Cruz, Cananea, Naco and Agua Prieta, in Sonora.

In the explanatory memorandum of the initiative, it was mentioned that the implementation of Daylight Savings Time supposedly sought improvements in the domestic consumption of electricity; however, a substantial saving was not represented and there are negative effects on human health.

Specifically, it is explained that the population of children and adolescents suffers from disorders in falling asleep, which increases the presence of daytime sleepiness, especially during the first weeks of adaptation to the seasonal schedule. This finding was confirmed by an analysis of sleep diaries, which reported an approximate sleep loss of 27 minutes per night.

Under this logic, the legislative power reported that the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico ( UNAM ) warned that the time change produces greater alterations in some groups of people, especially in those who have an inflexible biological and psycho-emotional structure, as well as in people who carry out activities in rigid schedules.

For this reason, Manuel Rodríguez, president of the Energy Commission and champion of the National Regeneration Movement ( Morena ), reported that the Board of Directors approved an addendum to the opinion, which contains only modifications of legislative technique, in which the change of time zone in the republic to which it was in the 20th century.

This coincides with the speech that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ( AMLO ) promotes in relation to summertime, since he was elected he has reiterated that he does not agree with the time changes due to the implications it has on human health and the natural adaptation of humans to their environment in relation to the season of the year.

This initiative will be presented the full congress for a vote on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 when DST in Mexico could finally be eliminated after years of debate. The bill is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

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