Let's quit changing our times

TIME CHANGE — Spring has come and clocks have been advanced by one hour. Americans are once again having to get used to a new time in their lives, and many of them aren't happy about it.

Most of us moved our clocks ahead by one hour last night, but why do we keep punishing ourselves? It’s primarily because Congress — to no one’s surprise — can’t get its act together.

Two Republican state legislators — Reps. Dodie Horton of Haughton and Sherman Mack of Livingston — will attempt during their session beginning Monday to have Louisiana join those states that have passed laws to make Daylight Saving Time (DST) year-round. However, it is just the first step in the process until Congress does its part.

States can stay on standard time year-round without congressional approval, and Arizona and Hawaii have done that.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the Sunshine Protection Act on March 6 of last year that would make DST permanent, but it hasn’t gone far. Rubio’s explanation of his legislation says DST was enacted in the United States following Germany’s 1916 effort to conserve fuel during World War I. DST was originally mandated for six months, but Congress extended it in 2005 for eight months.

Rubio said making DST permanent would reduce car crashes and car accidents, reduce the risk of cardiac issues, stroke and seasonal depression, reduce the number of robberies and reduce childhood obesity and increase physical fitness. He said it would benefit the economy and reduce energy usage.

Those who oppose making DST permanent will certainly take issue with those claims, but most of them definitely have merit. The bill, for example, doesn’t alter or change time zones, Rubio said, or change the amount of hours of sunlight or force anyone to observe DST.

When you think about it, we are only observing standard time for four months of the year — November to March. Rubio said the U.S. had year-round DST from 1942 to 1945 and 1974-1975.

Last November, history.com updated its 2012 story about some things we may not know about Daylight Saving Time. The website said it’s “daylight saving time,” not “daylight savings time.”

Benjamin Franklin didn’t originate the idea. It was Englishman William Willett who led the first campaign to implement daylight saving time. The website added that Daylight saving time wasn’t intended to benefit farmers.

Forbes magazine reported a year ago that President Trump announced his support for permanent daylight saving time in a tweet, adding he “is just as tired of the rest of America in switching our clocks twice a year.”

“Time will tell if Trump’s tweet will change that,” the Forbes article said, but up to now it hasn’t.

Even if Horton and Mack are successful in passing one of their bills, Louisiana will have to rely on Congress to adopt Rubio’s or someone else’s legislation.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says nine states have passed bills for year-round daylight saving time since 2018. They are Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Oregon, South Caroline, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.

Horton told WWL Radio, “If the federal government ever allows Daylight Saving Time to become year-round standard time, then those states are ready to implement it and that is what my goal is.”

Horton said her constituents want the change and, like Rubio, she said productivity is a lot higher and there is possibly less crime, fewer car accidents and more family time.

“I look forward to debating it and seeing really what are the cons,” Horton said. “I know I feel pretty confident in the pros, but tell me what are the cons.”

CBS News last November reported that a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 4 in 10 Americans would like to see their clocks stay on standard time year-round, 3 in 10 prefer to stay on daylight saving time and another 3 in 10 prefer the status quo.

Those who prefer the status quo say changing the clocks is no big deal, and they like the advantages of both standard time and daylight saving time.

If you aren’t sure how you feel about the twice a year time changes, consider what some studies have found. A 2009 report in “Sleep Medicine” said it takes anywhere from a day to three weeks to get our bodies to adjust to the time change. A 2007 study in “Current Biology” suggests we never adjust completely.

I prefer the final word from moneycrashers.com , a personal financial website.

“So all in all, it looks like the best way to get the most out of DST is to set our clocks forward — and then leave them there. We already spend twice as many months on DST as we do on so-called Standard Time, so maybe it’s time to accept that DST is the new normal.

“If we drop Standard Time completely, we can stop messing around with our clocks and our bodies twice a year and just get on with our lives.”

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