2 Ohio lawmakers seek to make daylight saving time permanent

Supporters of Daylight Saving Time

Clocks in Ohio would stay moved forward forever, making daylight saving time permanent, if new legislation introduced this week in the statehouse ever becomes law.

But even if passed in Columbus, the measure faces a higher hurdle — the U.S. Congress.

“With the proliferation of air conditioners and computers in our lives today, the savings generated through a reduction in the usage of artificial lighting no longer justify the biannual disruption in our lives caused by DST,” wrote the Ohio bill’s sponsors, Sen. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, and Sen. Bob Peterson. R-Fayette County.

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Ohio Senate Bill 119, the Ohio Sunshine Protection Act, would eliminate the need to switch clocks twice a year, a practice connected to “a number of significant disadvantages and issues,” the sponsors wrote in a memo to Senate colleagues.

The memo cites studies indicating the biennial time changes produce an increase in fatal automobile accidents, negatively affect productivity, add to workplace injuries and fail to realize the economic savings a 1966 federal law sought.

The Ohio bill mirrors one Florida legislators from both parties supported and then-Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, signed last year. But Congress must approve the change due provisions in the Uniform Time Act of 1966 and has yet to act. The same would be required for Ohio.

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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, along with Scott, now the state’s junior U.S. senator, have reintroduced a federal Sunshine Protection Act this month that would make the issue moot in the states and move the entire country permanently to daylight saving time.

While most of the country and about 40 percent of the world use DST, there are some exceptions. Two states – Arizona and Hawaii – and several territories don’t fall back or spring forward with DST. Arizona has not observed DST since 1967, when it filed for a federal exemption. Hawaii, too, opted out under the exemption. The state has never used DST.

Indiana did not make the switch to daylight saving time until 2006, providing researchers a way to analyze effect of the time change on residential energy use. The time shift was found to cost households an extra $9 million a year in heating and cooling costs and up to $5.5 million annually in social costs of increased pollution emissions, according to the study by economists Matthew Kotchen and Laura Grant.

Proponents of permanent daylight saving time point to studies that show a reduced number of car-pedestrian accidents when daylight aligns with the standard work hours of drivers; reduces cardiac issues, stroke and seasonal depression; and increases physical fitness as well as reduces childhood obesity by expanding the daylight hours in which people can be active.

After Germans used daylight saving time during World War I as a way to save on coal use, it was more broadly adopted, including in the U.S., where it became law signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1918.

The practice of setting clocks ahead in the spring and back in the fall was sold as a way to help farmers with crops and harvesting, but was more influenced by retail business interests, according to author Michael Downing in “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time.”

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Glenn Monnin, co-owner of Monnin Fruit Farm in Butler Twp., said he wants the time to stay exactly as it is – in other words, move his clocks twice a year.

“Right now with the time changing being the way that it is, it allows us to go out every single day right at eight in the morning,” he said.

“I would just leave things the way they are,” Monnin said. “Everybody is used to it that way and you know, nobody likes change and neither do we.”

Reporters Kayla Courvell and Debbie Lord contributed to this report.

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