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GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION,
Washington, D.C., May 3, 1963. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Repre
sentatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : Your letter of March 15, 1963, requested the views of the General Services Administration on H.R. 4702, 88th Congress, 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.
The purpose of this bill is stated in the title.
The enactment of this measure would not affect the budgetary requirements of GSA.
The Bureau of the Budget has advised that, from the standpoint of the administration's program, there is no objection to the submission of this report to your committee. Sincerely yours,
BERNARD L. BOUTIN, Administrator.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION,
Washington, D.C., August 16, 1963. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representa
tives, Washington, D.C. DEAR CHAIRMAN HARRIS: I have your letter of August 13, 1963, enclosing copies of a bill, H.R. 7891, introduced by Congressman Staggers, 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, and requesting a report and comments thereon.
The proposed measure is identical in substance to a bill, H.R. 4702, introduced by you, which would give effect to Legislative Recommendation No. 1 in the Commission's 76th Annual Report.
Accordingly, and for the reasons expressed in the justification in support of Legislative Recommendation No. 1 which accompanied my letter to you of March 4, 1963, we favor and support the objectives of H.R. 7891. Sincerely yours,
LAURENCE K. WALRATH, Chairman.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION,
Washington, D.C., March 4, 1963. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representa
tives, Washington, D.C. DEAR CHAIRMAN HARRIS: I am submitting herewith for your consideration 40 copies of a draft bill (together with statement of justification therefor) which would give effect to Legislative Recommendation No. 1 in the Commission's 76th Annual Report.
I believe it appropriate to observe, however, that the Commission is not unanimous concerning the propriety of its initiating a detailed draft bill of the type here transmitted, the ramifications of which extend far beyond matters relating to surface transportation. On the other hand, we are agreed both as to the need for some additional time legislation and for a redetermination by Congress as to whether the Commission is the most appropriate agency to administer present or future legislation relating to standard time.
Accordingly, and to the extent that such action will focus attention on and help to resolve these problems, your assistance in having the enclosed draft bill introduced and scheduling a hearing thereon would be appreciated. Sincerely yours,
LAURENCE K. WALRATH, Chairman.
RECOMMENDATION No. 1
This proposed bill would give effect to Legislative Recommendation No. 1 of the Interstate Commerce Commission as set forth on page 198 of its 76th Annual Report to Congress as follows:
“We recommend that Congress amend the Standard Time Act for the reasons set forth in the 'Standard Time Zones' chapter in this report, and if Congress does not see fit to so amend the statute, that we be relieved of the responsibility for its administration."
(The bill, H.R. 4702, appears on p. 3.)
JUSTIFICATION, RECOMMENDATION No. 1 The present Standard Time Act was enacted by Congress in 1918 largely in response to an immediate need for increased national efficiency during World War I. Its stated purpose, “To save daylight and to provide standard time for the United States," coupled with an injunction directing the Interstate Commerce Commission to define the limits of the zones “having regard for the convenience of commerce" (not just interstate commerce) and a requirement that standard time be observed in relation to acts required to be performed "by any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States," was thought to evince the intent of Congress to fix standards of time for all purposes.
For a brief period, the standards of time prescribed under the act were universally observed despite the fact that it contains no enforcement procedure or penalty provisions. The daylight saving feature, however, was repealed in 1919 over President Wilson's veto, and shortly thereafter the Commission began to experience difficulty due to the limited scope of the act and the tendency of individual States and cities to exercise a claimed right of local option. Thus, local daylight saving time, adopted at first by Boston, New York, and Chicago, gradually spread to many other cities and towns in the East and Midwest. In a suit to enjoin the authorities of Massachusetts from enforcing the observance of an advanced time standard, a Federal district court held that, in enacting the Standard Time Act, Congress had not fully occupied the time field and, consequently, that there was no necessary conflict between that act and the enforcement of a different standard of time designed for purposes other than those specified in the act. See Massachusetts State Grange v. Denton 10 F. (20) 515, Aff'd. sub nom. Mass. State Grange v. Benton, 272 U.S. 525 (1926).
With the way open to States and individual communities to act independently, an ever-increasing confusion and conflict of time standards has developed; and, in an era characterized by jet speed and by remarkable advances in space technology, this situation has become particularly aggravated and, therefore, potentially dangerous.
The situation in Indiana, as depicted in Standard Time Zone Investigation, 314 I.C.C. 101 (126–129), decided June 6, 1961, provides a pointed illustration of the problem. There, among other things, the evidence details the difficulties experienced by numerous commercial, communications, and transport concerns as well as the extreme confusion attending the arrival and departure of air flights at the Indianapolis airport. Another example is the recent time law of Virginia, which provides for daylight saving time for most of the State from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but exempts Bristol, and permits the usual period of daylight saving for that part of the Washington metropolitan area located in Virginia. Accordingly, the same standard is observed in Richmond, Arlington, and Bristol during the winter and early spring. From the last Sunday in April until May 30, however, Richmond time is the same as Arlington, but an hour ahead of Bristol ; and, until the last Sunday in October, Richmond time is the same as that of Bristol but remains an hour behind Arlington time. While this arrangement is confusing, it is undoubtedly superior to the situation which existed when each community in Virginia determined for itself whether it would observe daylight saving time and for what period.
For many years, annual reports of the Interstate Commerce Commission have directed the attention of Congress to the need for additional time legislation; and, at the same time, in proceedings held under the act, the Commission has earnestly endeavored to find a solution to the numerous conflicts caused by the action of State or local authorities in changing local time standards. The pattern is usually the same. The shift in local time brings a flood of complaints and petitions for a change in the zone boundaries or for some action restoring the former situation, which finally impel a reopening of the proceeding for reconsideration. Thus, the Commission is repeatedly injected into bitter local controversies without power to resolve them with any reasonable regard for the convenience and safety of the area as a whole. If it is found that the requested change would not enhance the convenience of commerce, a denial of the petition, in most instances, merely perpetuates the existing conflict and causes it to spread to additional areas. On the other hand, a grant of the relief sought often produces a similar outcome, since the resulting mutation of boundaries creates inconvenience in adjacent areas and, thereby, precipitates other independent local changes followed by further complaints and petitions for further modifications.
The Commission's experience amply 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 original idea of Congress that a Federal standard would dominate and control local time has not been borne out in practice. Instead, the conflict between Federal and local standards is usually resolved by the observance of local time by Federal officers and establishments.
The Commission has consistently taken the position that this hopeless intermingling of Federal and local time standards adequately justifies the complete occupancy by Congress of the field of standard time regulation. In this respect, however, it is not necessary to rely solely upon the commerce clause, since other clauses of the Constitution, including the standards of weights and measures clause, appear to grant Congress the power to prescribe a uniform system of standard time for the country which is not limited to matters relating to interstate commerce or foreign commerce.
In its current annual report, this Commission has reiterated its prior recommendations that the scope of the Standard Time Act be broadened by providing that the standard time of the zone shall be the exclusive measure of time and by adding more definite standards, requirements for observance, penalties for violation, and provisions for administration and enforcement. The proposed bill has been drawn to accomplish these purposes.
The general intent of the draft bill—to provide a uniform system of time standards and measurement for the United States—is stated in section 4. In addition, to the five existing zones, this section would add one zone to the East primarily to provide a substitute for the designation "eastern daylight saving time," and two to the West in order to cover Alaska and Hawaii adequately.
It is useful to recognize that the 8 designated zones are parts of the international system of 24 zones stretching from Greenwich east and west around the world, as is done in section 5.
The meridians of longitude dividing the designated zones are specified in sec. tion 6. The names selected for the zones are those which are now in use or, as in the designation “Alaska-Hawaii," appear to be appropriate choices. It should be noted, however, that the position of the word "standard,” which in the official designations in the present act precedes the names of particular zones, has been changed to follow the names, so as to conform to general usage. Thus, the designation "eastern standard time" is used rather than the now official form "standard eastern time."
Section 7 follows the present act and authorizes the "Agency" designated as administrator to define the limits of the zones and to modify them from time to time. The proviso would continue existing boundary determination until changed.
Section 8 includes a number of general principles which the Commission has found useful in determining the zone boundaries in the past. Difficulty is er. perienced in adhering to them, however, due to lack of explicit authority under the present act and also because commercial interests would have the Commission confine its consideration strictly to the convenience of interstate commerce. This section also provides that, in fixing the boundaries, the designated Agency shall not include in any zone a point or area for which the standard time would be more than 1 hour faster than sun time.
Numerous bills presented to Congress in prior years have required national observance either of standard time throughout the year or of standard time coupled with a provision for daylight-saving time during that portion of the year when daylight extends considerably beyond normal work hours. Straight standard time bills, however, are apt to engender vigorous opposition from the large areas in the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific coast which now observe daylight-saving time. On the other hand, bills requiring nationwide observance of daylight-saving time generally are unpopular in certain remaining portions of the country.
The draft bill meets and, in the opinion of the Commission, obviates these difficulties in section 9. Where desirable in the public interest, the administering agency would be authorized to delineate an area within any zone a subzone_for transfer during a specified period to the zone immediately to the east. If, for example, a subzone were defined in the northeastern part of the central standard time zone, such subzone would become a part of the eastern standard time zone during the summertime. Accordingly, this section introduces a needed flexibility into the application of an advanced time standard. In those zones or portions of zones where no popular demand for a faster standard of time is manifested, none will be provided.
Sections 10, 11, and 12 would authorize the administering agency to conduct necesary proceedings, to issue subpenas, to employ the staff necessary to perform its duties under the act, and to receive and hear petitions as to the time zones. The present act contains no provisions for its administration.
Sections 13 and 14 contain important provisions making the standard time of the zone 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, except for scientific purposes or for other purposes expressly exempted by the designated agency under a provision designed to foster and protect the public interest.
Provisions for the execution and enforcement of the draft bill, entirely absent from the present act, are provided in sections 15 to 18. These include injunctive relief, civil forfeitures, and fines for willful violations.
In total effect, the proposed bill would provide for the United States a stable and orderly system of time characterized by clearly defined boundaries and truly geared to the vastly accelerated tempo of the age in which we live. Accordingly, it is recommended that this bill be enacted substantially in its present form.
Finally, it must be observed that the Commission's experience indicates that the convenience of transportation is only one of the many considerations in timezone hearings, and that the major portion of the testimony adduced at such hearings is elicited from a broad spectrum of sources, including representatives of Federal, State, county and municipal governments, banks, brokers, insurance companies, manufacturers, mining companies, refineries, wholesale and retail dealers, radio and television broadcasters, telephone and telegraph companies, newspaper, lawyers, doctors, hospitals, tour bureaus, school boards, farmers, stock breeders, and dairymen. For this reason, it is also recommended that careful consideration be given to the question of whether the Interstate Commerce Commission is the most appropriate agency to administer the provisions of any future law relating to standard time. In any event, should the Congress not see fit to change or amend the present Standard Time Act so as to provide a more efficient and effective system of time regulation, it is recommended that the Commission be relieved of the responsibility for its administration.
INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION,
Washington, D.C., June 17, 1964. Hon. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Represen
tatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR CHAIRMAN HARRIS: This is in response to your request for comments on six bills (H.R. 2335, introduced by Congressman Gray, H.R. 3114 and H.R. 11483. introduced by Congressman Staggers, H.R. 6284, introduced by Congressman Fulton of Tennessee, H.R. 11206, introduced by Congressman Fraser, and H.R. 11407, introduced by you) which, in different ways, would amend the Standard Time Act (15 U.S.C. 262). This matter has been considered by the Commission and I am authorized to submit the following comments in its behalf :
Since 1931 this Commission has recommended that Congress broaden the scope of the Standard Time Act, and has supported proposed amendments which would have required nationwide observance of either standard time throughout the year or daylight saving for a specified portion of the year. The primary objective has been to eliminate or minimize the present chaotic conditions in
the observance of time standards resulting from the widespread use of two or more legal standards of time at the same point or in the same area.
Most recently, we supported and urged enactment of H.R. 4702, a bill introduced by you at our request which would implement legislative recommendations contained in our 76th and 77th annual reports. In general, this bill would (1) provide guidelines and procedures to be followed by the administering agency in determining zone boundaries under the Standard Time Act, (2) permit, during a 6-month period commencing on the last Sunday in April and ending on the last Sunday in October, the designation of advanced time (daylight saving) subzones within each zone, (3) make the time of the zones and subzones the exclusive time for the transaction of public business by Federal, State, or local governments and by all persons in their business relations with the public, and (4) contain adequate administrative provisions (including requirements for public hearings and judicial review) and several alternative methods of enforcement (including injunctions, fines, and civil forfeitures).
Of the various measures which are the subject of this letter, one (H.R. 11483) is identical to H.R. 4702 in all essential respects except that it affects only time standards observed by the Federal Government and by common carriers engaged in interstate commerce including railroads, motor carriers, airlines, and communications companies. This difference, in our opinion, does not affect the merits of the bill and certainly does not give us cause to criticize H.R. 11483, or to oppose its enactment in lieu of H.R. 4702.
On the other hand, we believe that the remaining measures fail in various respects adequately to meet the need for additional time legislation.
H.R. 6284 and H.R. 11407 would require nationwide observance of daylight saving time, for 15 weeks and 5 months, respectively; and H.R. 11206 would simply provide that when a State or local government employs daylight saving time, such advance standard of time shall remain in effect during a prescribed 6-month period. H.R. 11206 and H.R. 11407, however, contain no enforcement or penalty provisions, and those contained in H.R. 6284 relate solely to the pro posed 15-week daylight saving period. In addition, these bills would provide no criteria or administrative standards for use in the determination of zone boundaries.
H.R. 2335 would require nationwide observance of standard time throughout the year by Federal, State, and local governments and by "any place of business or commercial enterprise.” H.R. 3114 has a similar purpose but its application would be limited to the Federal Government and to common carriers engaged "in commerce subject to regulation" by the Federal Government. H.R. 3114 contains no penalty or enforcement provisions and the sole sanction contemplated in H.R. 2335 is a fine of “not more than $100,” a remedy which in many instances would be inappropriate or ineffective. Neither bill would provide guide lines to assist in the determination of zone boundaries.
In view of the foregoing, and considering the many frustrations we have encountered over the years in administering the present Standard Time Act, we be liere that the early attainment of a stable, orderly, and uniform system of time standards will best be achieved by enactment of comprehensive legislation such as that proposed in H.R. 4702 and in H.R. 11483. Respectfully submitted.
ABE MCGREGOR GOFF, Chairman.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
August 21, 1963. Hen. OREN HARRIS, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Tashington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in response to your request for the views of the Department of Justice concerning the bill (H.R. 7891) 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.
The act of March 19, 1918, as amended (10 Stat. 450: 15 U.S.C. 261, et seq.), provides for standard time of the United States. The law has been held to make standard time applicable only (1) to the movement of common carriers engaged in interstate or foreign commerce; (2) to U.S. officials and departments; and (3) to all acts done by any persons under Federal statutes, orders, rules,