Does anybody really know what time it is?

Apparently in several states, including this one, every problem state government faces has been solved so that legislators can focus on this, the Washington Post reports:

Elected officials in a dozen states are currently considering legislation to opt out of changing the clocks, either by remaining permanently on daylight saving time or standard time. Standard time is in place from November to mid-March, after which time (see what we did there?) clocks move one hour ahead to daylight saving time, leaving eight months with later sunrises and sunsets.

Time can be quite a controversial issue. In 2005, then Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) suffered some political blowback after he pushed hard for the state to universally adopt daylight saving time. Opponents to daylight saving time say that it causes a major disruption to sleep and that the switch is associated with an increase in workplace accidents and other health risks.

The Uniform Act of 1966 established daylight saving time throughout the United States, but states can opt out, and two already have: Hawaii and Arizona. Here’s a look at states that are considering opting out or otherwise changing how they observe time …

Illinois

State Rep. Bill Mitchell (R) said he was inspired to introduce a bill to end daylight saving time in Illinois after a newspaper ran an that lamented the clock change. Then, an 80-year-old retiree contacted him, saying she wanted it gone.

“I think it affects everyone’s circadian rhythm. I just don’t think its necessary,” resident Marilyn Smith said, the Herald-Review reported. “It’s just a pain. If our lawmakers could do one thing to make us happy, well …”

Mitchell’s bill hasn’t gone anywhere yet.

Michigan

Democratic state Rep. Jeff Irwin has introduced a measure that would have the state permanently observe standard time. “As we have all experienced this week, changing schedules for daylight saving time is stressful and unnecessary,” he said, MLive reported.

I excerpted those states because of what the Post didn’t report, but the Associated Press does:

Two Republican lawmakers want to make the sun set earlier in the summer.

Reps. Samantha Kerkman, of Salem, and Michael Schraa, of Oshkosh, introduced a bill Friday that would eliminate daylight saving time in Wisconsin. The move would mean state residents would no longer have to move their clocks ahead an hour in the spring or back an hour in the fall as the country shifts back to standard time. That would mean the summer sun would appear to rise and set earlier.

Kerkman and Schraa said in a news release that the change would save people the hour of sleep they lose in the spring. The time change also causes general confusion and forces kids to go to school in the dark, they added. Kerkman said in a phone interview that a number of constituents have contacted her to tell her the time change is frustrating.

“People definitely have an opinion about this,” Kerkman said. “I wish I could create more sunshine, but I can’t.”

Arizona and Hawaii don’t observe daylight saving time. Kerkman and Schraa said in a memo they sent to colleagues Friday seeking co-sponsors that eight states introduced similar legislation that would do away with daylight saving time this year.

“We often see stress and confusion associated with moving the clocks twice a year,” the legislators wrote. “A full repeal of daylight saving time would eliminate that stress, take possible tolls off of people’s bodies and make more sense year round.”

Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and ends at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November. Wisconsin residents adopted it in 1957 through a statewide referendum.

Kerkman and Schraa gave their fellow lawmakers until Feb. 24 to sign onto the bill. Spokeswomen for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the bill’s chances.

Yes, people do definitely have an opinion. The WITI-TV online poll, admittedly unscientific, showed 53 percent support for keeping DST. The comments on the story were split between keeping DST and moving the clocks permanently ahead, with no comments in favor of Kerkman’s and Schraa’s proposal for permanent Central Standard Time.

Wisconsin has had DST since a 1957 referendum in which 54 percent of voters favored DST, finding, according to Ballotpedia, these rationales more persuasive …

  • More than half of the U.S. states had already switched to Daylight Saving Time, may of which were closely related to Wisconsin.
  • 80% of Wisconsin’s population were non-farmers, who would see benefits from Daylight Saving Time.
  • Regular wage earners would have more time for outdoor recreation with there families in the evening hours.
  • It would help with keeping TV schedules steady, as major broadcasters where in states that already adopted Daylight Saving Time–New York and California.
  • Daylight Saving Time better matches the movement of the sun.
  • Daylight Saving Time would not affect cow milk product. Supporters stated Wisconsin had record milk production during both world wars, when the state used Daylight Saving Time.

… than these:

Major opposition was led by farmer groups. They contended:[2]

  • Daylight Saving Time would put an undue hardship on dairy farmers who would have to get up an hour earlier to get milk ready for delivery.
  • Daylight Saving Time would create some problems with harvesting crops, because farmers have to wait for the sun to dry morning dew.

Other opponents stated:

  • Daylight Saving Time would cause problems for families to try to get children to go to bed while it was still light outside, and get them up for school in the months of May to September.

Clearly the state’s parents and farmers have adapted in the 60 years since DST was voted into law. So why Kerkman and Schraa want to get rid of DST is a mystery to me.

Readers know that I generally favor Daylight Saving Time. My second choice would be to move the clocks permanently ahead, whether or not doing so “better matches the movement of the sun.” (That is a new one.) For those who say that children who ride school buses should not have to wait in the dark for them on winter mornings, there is a simple solution — start school later. (In my experience as a student and parent, few kids are really awake by 8 a.m., and medical science backs up a later-starting school day.)

Going back to so-called “God’s time” is, frankly, stupid, but making any time zone change without neighboring states going along is even more stupid. And regardless of what happens, the Legislature has better things to do than to change Daylight Saving Time.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s