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EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington, D.C., October 8, 1963. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your request for the views of the Bureau of the Budget with respect to H.R. 2335, H.R. 2532, H.R. 3114, H.R. 4702, H.R. 6284, and H.R. 7891, bills, under various titles, which would, in general, establish a more uniform national system of time standards and provide means of enforcing the observance of the national standards. In this session of Congress, bills for similar purposes have also been introduced in the Senate including S. 1033, S. 1195, S. 1394, and S. 1528. Our comments on the bills before the House of Representatives draw upon testimony and agency reports before both the House and Senate in this and prior sessions of Congress.
It appears that support for uniform time legislation stems chiefly from the confusion and inconvenience caused by local changeovers to and from daylight saving time, and generally from the localized nature of daylight saving obseryance. Under the Standard Time Act of 1918, the leading Federal legislation regarding time standards, State governments and local communities are left not only the option of adopting daylight saving time if they choose, but also are faced with the requirements of scheduling for changeover and determining the effective area limits of their daylight saving time zones. During the world wars, the Congress adopted national daylight saving time to further war efforts, but in general it appears there has been little desire on the part of the Congress to enact legislation which would occupy the field of time standardization or even to assist States and localities in establishing time standards which would also serve local and interstate commerce. The Standard Time Act of 1918, which was intended, in part, to promote the convenience of commerce, seems to have failed in this purpose to the extent that our present system of local option and enforcement is particularly inconvenient for commerce.
For a number of years, the annual reports of the Interstate Commerce Commission have recommended that additional time legislation be enacted. The Commission, which has had the responsibility for administering the Standard Time Act, has been of the opinion that it is in the national interest for the Congress to occupy further the field of time standards with Federal legislation. In this session, the Commission is recommending legislation which would provide (1) more rationally drawn and orderly time zones, (2) a uniform changeover date for the subzones which would choose to implement advanced time, (3) a system of enforcement which would require observance of the time standards for all purposes by persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and (4) authority for the agency administering the act to hold hearings, make investigations, and receive petitions to assist that agency in making determinations of the limits of the permanent zones and the advanced subzones. The Commission has further advised the Congress that if a more "efficient and effective system of time regulation” is not provided, the Interstate Commerce Commission would wish to be relieved of the responsibility for administering the Standard Time Act.
While we will not comment in detail on the specific merits of each of the bills introduced, the Bureau of the Budget endorses in general the recommendations of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and recommends the enactment of legislation which would be judged satisfactory by the Commission. It appears that H.R. 4702 (S. 1033), introduced at the request of the Commission, might best meet the needs and problems outlined by the Commission; however, we note that several other bills introduced are similar in nature and might also represent significant improvements.
We believe that legislation which would provide for the development of orderly time zones and uniform changeover dates would be useful and desirable and we believe would be so judged by the States and localities which will implement daylight saving time. We would defer to the Commission, however, in the matter of precise legislation needed to provide effective administration and enforcement. We would recommend further that the Interstate Commerce Commission continue to administer our national time standards. It is our view that this matter is particularly relevant to interstate commerce since the disparities in national time observance are most heavily felt in that field. Sincerely yours,
PHILLIP S. HUGHES, Assistant Director for Legislative Reference.
CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD,
Washington, D.C., May 2, 1963. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in reply to your letter of March 15, 1963, requesting the Board's comments on H.R. 4702, a bill to establish a uniform system of time standards and time measurement for the United States and to require the observance of such time standards for all purposes.
H.R. 4702 would repeal the Standard Time Act of March 19, 1918 (40 Stat. 450), establish certain time zones for the United States, provide for the establishment of daylight saving time under certain circumstances, require that the standard time of each zone shall be the measure of time for certain purposes within such zone unless otherwise authorized, and provide penalties for violations. The provisions of the bill would be administered by such agency as might be designated by the Congress. The standard time of the zone, unless otherwise authorized, would be the measure of time for the transaction of all public business by the Federal or State governments or by persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
The Interstate Commerce Commission, which has the responsibility for defining the limits of the existing time zones under the Standard Time Act, states in its justification of a draft bill submitted to the Congress, which is substantially similar to H.R. 4702, that its experience demonstrates that any attempt to confine the application of the standard of time solely to Federal matters or to interstate commerce, while local matters or intrastate commerce are governed by a different standard, is bound to result in chaos. The Commission adds that the original idea of Congress that a Federal standard would dominate and control local time has not been borne out in practice. It further states that the conflict between Federal and local standards is usually resolved by the observance of local time by Federal officers and establishments.
The Board believes that the interests of air transportation, as well as other forms of transportation, would be furthered by greater uniformity in time changes on a nationwide basis. Air carriers distribute timetables showing time changes at individual points because of variations in time observance in different parts of the country. The establishment of a uniform cutoff date for daylight saving time, for example, would result in cost savings to the aviation industry as well as greater convenience to the traveling public.
The Board is, therefore, in accord with the objective of the bill to provide a more uniform system of time standards for the United States.
The Bureau of the Budget has advised that there is no objection to the submission of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely yours,
ROBERT T. MURPHY, Acting Chairman.
GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
August 13, 1964. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. HARRIS: The Commissioners of the District of Columbia have for report H.R. 6284, 88th Congress, a bill to establish daylight saving time uniformly throughout the U.S. time zones each year, to make such time the only legal time during the period it is in effect, and to provide additional time zones for the States of Alaska and Hawaii.
The purpose of the bill is to establish throughout the United States a uniform daylight saving time period extending for approximately 3 months.
Subsection (a) of the first section of the bill amends the act approved March 19, 1918 (40 Stat. 450 ; 15 U.S.C. 261-264), as amended, by adding, among other provisions, the following:
“SEC. 6. (a) During the period commencing at 2:00 antemeridian on the last Sunday of May of each year and ending at 2:00 antemeridian on the first Sunday following Labor Day of each year, the standard time of each zone shall be advanced one hour."
Thus the bill provides that daylight saving time throughout the Nation shall be limited essentially to the 3 months of June, July, and August.
Subsection (b) of the first section of the bill repeals the act entitled "An act to permit the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia to establish daylight saving time in the District," approved April 28, 1953 (67 Stat. 23), as amended (sec. 28–2804, D.C. Code, 1961 edition). Under the aforementioned act of 1953 the Commissioners are presently authorized to establish daylight saving time in the District for the period commencing not earlier than the last Sunday of April of each year and ending not later than the last Sunday of October of each year. For the past several years, pursuant to such authority, the Commissioners have established the entire period as the daylight saving time period in the Nation's Capital.
As a consequence, the daylight saving period has for a considerable time been in effect in the District for essentially a 6-month duration each year. This would by law be shortened to approximately a 3-month period should H.R. 6284 be enacted.
The Commissioners agree with the objective of H.R. 6284—the establishment of uniform daylight saving time throughout the Nation—but prefer that a longer period, such as is now authorized for the District be incorporated in the bill. Accordingly, the Commissioners suggest that in the first section of the bill the first sentence in the proposed section 6(a) be amended by striking the word “May” and inserting in lieu thereof "April" and by striking the words "first Sunday following Labor Day” and inserting in lieu thereof “last Sunday of October.”
Should H.R. 6284 be amended as suggested above, the Commissioners would favor its enactment.
The Commissioners have been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that, from the standpoint of the administration's program, there is no objection to the submission of this report to the Congress. Yours very sincerely,
WALTER N. TOBRINER, President, Board of Commissioners, District of Columbia.
FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY,
Washington, D.C., May 23, 1963. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : This is in reply to your request for the views of this Agency regarding H.R. 4702, a bill to establish a uniform system of time standards and measurement for the United States and to require the observance of such time standards for all purposes.
This bill provides for the establishment of a uniform system of time standards based upon the general zone system of standard time. The exact limits of the respective time zones are to be determined by the administering agency.
Section 12 of the bill provides that within the zones established by the administering agency, the “standard time of the zone shall be the exclusive time for the transaction of all public business by any agency or department of the United States, or of any State or local government, or by any officer, agent, employee, or representative of such agency or department, and shall be observed by all persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States in all civil and business relations with the public * * *.” The section goes on to provide that exceptions may be made by the administering agency upon a finding that safety or public convenience will be served, any such exceptions to be subject to reasonable conditions imposed by the agency in the public interest.
Excepting the one item mentioned below, the subject matter of this bill is not within the purview of this Agency and to that extent we defer to the views of other interested agencies.
In the conduct of many of this Agency's activities such as air traffic control, weather reporting. flight information services, and aerial navigation, we have adopted Greenwich mean time as the standard time for all required communications, both external and internal. This internationally agreed standard has been adopted to standardize as much as possible an increasingly complex activity, to permit more adequate separation of air traffic moving across time zones with increasing speed and volume, and to facilitate the growing use of computers within the system which require the use of one standard time for programing purposes. We believe the continued use of Greenwich mean time for these purposes is imperative.
We understand it was not the intent of the drafters of this bill to affect this special use of time. In view of this, we believe the bill should be amended to reflect the necessity for our continued use of Greenwich mean time in accordance with internationally agreed standards. We suggest the addition of the words “(excepting aerial navigation, air traffic control, and related activities)” after the word “business" where is appears in line 20, page 5, of H.R. 4702.
Subject to modification we have no objection to this bill.
The Bureau of the Budget has advised that there is no objection from the standpoint of the administration's program to the submission of this report to your committee. Sincerely,
N. E. HALABY, Administrator. FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY,
Washington, D.C., June 11, 1964. Hon. HARLEY O. STAGGERS, Chairman, Subcommittee on Commerce and Finance, Committee on Interstate
and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: We have received the notice of hearings scheduled for June 18 and 19 on a number of pending House bills on daylight saving and standard time.
As indicated in our May 23, 1963, report on H.R. 4702 to the chairman of the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee, the subject matter of these bills, with one exception, is not within the purview of this Agency, and to that extent we would defer to the views of other interested agencies.
The one exception concerns this Agency's use in many of its traffic control and air navigation functions of Greenwich mean time. Some of the pending bills. would provide a standard time for each zone and would require that that time be the exclusive time for the transaction of all public business by agencies and departments of the United States. We believe any bill enacted should reflect the necessity for our continued use of Greenwich mean time, in accordance with internationally agreed standards, in our conduct of air traffic control, weather reporting, flight information, and aerial navigation services. This internationally agreed standard has been adopted to permit more adequate separation of air traffic moving across time zones with increasing speed and volume, and to facilitate the growing use of computers within the system which require the use of a single time standard for programing purposes.
Our letter to the Senate committee to this effect produced an amendment to S. 1033 (sec. 10 (b) of this bill as reported by the Senate Commerce Committee August 3, 1963). We would urge the House to treat this question similarly in its consideration of these bills.
If it is satisfactory with the committee, we will not plan to appear at the hearings to raise this fairly narrow, technical matter. We will, of course, be happy to provide the committee with any further information it may desire. Sincerely,
N. E. HALABY, Administrator.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION,
Washington, D.C., April 30, 1963. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR CHAIRMAN HARRIS: This is in reply to your request seeking the Commission's comments on H.R. 4702, a bill to establish a uniform system of time standards and time measurement for the United States and to require the observance of such time standards for all purposes.
Enclosed please find six copies of our comments on H.R. 4702. We are advised by the Bureau of the Budget that from the standpoint of the administration's program, there is no objection to the presentation of this report to your committee. Sincerely yours,
NEWTON N. MINOW, Chairman.
COMMENTS OF THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION ON H.R. 4702, S. 1033,
AND S. 1195, 8811 CONGRESS, Bills To ESTABLISH A L'NIFORM SYSTEM OF TIME STANDARDS AND TIME MEASUREMENT FOR THE UNITED STATES AND TO REQUIRE THE OBSERVANCE OF SUCH TIME STANDARDS FOR ALL PURPOSES
These bills, among other things, establish a uniform system of time standards and time measurement for the United States and would require the observance of such time standards for all purposes.
H.R. 4702, S. 1033, and S. 1195 are nearly identical. The bills are more detailed and enlarge upon H.R. 1354 and H.R. 1355, which were introduced in the 86th Congress, and similar bills introduced in the 85th Congress (see e.g., H.R. 369, H.R. 370, H.R. 5771, and H.R. 7707), concerning which the Commission stated it had not been given any responsibility in regard to time standards set by the Federal Government, that it had no special competence in that field, and accordingly had no views to express on the policy question involved in these bills.
Although our position on this matter remains unchanged, a further explanation may be appropriate. In order to avoid an otherwise chaotic skywave interference problem, the majority of standard broadcast stations in the United States are required to leave the air, reduce power, and/or operate with direc. tional antenna systems during nighttime hours. Since skywave intereference is governed by the degree of light or darkness along the transmission path, we are basically concerned with determining local astronomical or "sun” time. However, it is necessary that "sun” time be related to meaningful standards (as, for example, eastern standard time), and that average monthly sunrise and sunset times be expressed in terms of those standards on license documents. Some stations in other services are similarly regulated to avoid nighttime interference. Thus, although the methods used in establishing time zones are of little concern to the Commission, the end product is of vital importance in connection with standard broadcast licensing, as well as in some other services.
It may be noted that certain coast and ship radiotelegraph and radiotelephone stations use Greenwich mean time (G.m.t.) for log entries, for indicating the time a message is filed, and for determining the times when certain radio watches must be maintained. The use of G.m.t. arises from the mobile and international character of the communications involved. It is assumed that the provision for flexibility contained in the various bills will suffice to meet any problem in this regard.
With the possibility of some exceptions noted above, we have concluded that our rules and administrative processes could be alined with the proposed legislation without undue difficulty and that a uniform system of time standards should in fact reduce some of the confusion stemming from the existing patchwork of local daylight saving legislation.
Adopted: April 23, 1963.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION,
Washington, D.C., June 10, 1964. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Repre
sentatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : This is in reply to your letter of June 2, requesting the comments of the Commission on H.R. 11407, a bill to amend the Standard Time Act to provide for daylight saving time during the period from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in September of each year.
In the 1st session of the 88th Congress the Commission commented on H.R. 4702, S. 1033, and S. 1195, bills to establish a uniform system of time standards and time measurements for the United States and to require the observance of such time standards for all purposes. At that time the Commission stated that it had not been given any responsibility in regard to time standards set by the Federal Government, that it had no special competence in that field, and accordingly had no views to express on the policy question involved. These statements are also applicable to H.R. 11407.
Enclosed for your information are two copies of the comments we submitted to you on April 30, 1963, on H.R. 4702, S. 1033, and S. 1195. Yours sincerely,
E. WILLIAM HENRY, Chairman, (See comments attached to letter dated April 30, 1963.)