Everyone has an opinion about changing the clocks twice a year. Illinois lawmakers do, too, and decided it was time to host a hearing to discuss their options.
Several state representatives introduced bills this year to move Illinois to permanent daylight saving time or standard time. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, and David Welter, R-Morris, have bills to move Illinois to standard time all year — the current winter time. State Reps. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, Adam Niemerg, R-Dieterich, Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, and Mike Zalewski, D-Chicago, have filed bills to make daylight saving time all year — the current summer time.
As someone who gets up earlier than most people, Butler prefers standard time because it means more daylight in the morning. However, Zalewski pointed out that our current lifestyle involves more evening activities, so more daylight later in the day is best.
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has consistently supported the idea that we have daylight savings time so we can have shopping later in the day as it’s still sunny. It would mean significant amounts for our economy," Morgan said Wednesday, adding it would help with post-pandemic recovery.
If Illinois switched to daylight saving time, the latest sunrise in Springfield during the winter would be 8:16 a.m., but the earliest sunset would be 5:33 p.m., according to timeanddate.com. If there are no other changes outside Illinois, the state would be on Eastern time in the winter instead of central time. Standard time during the summer would put Illinois on the mountain time zone, with sunrises after 4 a.m. and sunsets by 7:30 p.m.
Illinois has debated this issue for several years, including in 2019 when former state Sen. Andy Manar got a bill passed in the Senate approving daylight saving time as the new standard time. However, there are several arguments toward both sides.
“I think the current system is a great compromise," said David Prerau, author of the book “Seize the Daylight."
Prerau said the U.S. already tried daylight saving time all year in the 1970s during the energy crisis and it became very unpopular in the winter when people left for work and school in the dark.
“Besides making the sunrise later in the winter, it also makes it colder. The coldest part of the day is often an hour before sunrise," Prerau said.
However, he believes that argument that people can’t adjust doesn’t add up.
"Going forward one hour (or) losing an hour of sleep as we do when we change to daylight saving time is no different from going from Chicago to Detroit," Prerau said.
While keeping daylight during active hours is a major basis for the argument in favor of daylight savings time, standard time does have supporters.
“We don’t do DST in the winter because it makes the sunrise too late," said Jay Pea, founder of Save Standard Time.
Pea says health experts believe standard time is best for people’s health and special interest economic groups are driving the push for daylight saving time to increase consumer spending.
"Circadian biologists are finding it’s easier to change time zones when we travel because you get the cues from the sunlight in your new location. But when you’re pretending to be in a new time zone under daylight saving time, you’re not getting those sun cues so it’s much harder to adapt. Some say that it’s even impossible," Pea said.
Debating time changes can be so controversial, one lawmaker’s wife is even getting involved.
"In my two-plus years as a member of the House of Representatives, my wife has only told me how to vote one time and that is in regards to this. She wants it to stay exactly how we are," said state Rep. Mike Murphy, R-Springfield.
Murphy is also an avid biker and pointed out that if Illinois were to have sunsets before 8 p.m. in the summer with standard time, he wouldn’t be able to bike as much and believes less daylight at the end of summer days would actually have negative health effects.
Illinois lawmakers are not expecting to vote on any changes any time soon. The subject has been brought up frequently in recent years and they believed it was time to set some time to specifically debate the topic.
Other states have taken action on the topic, however. Earlier this year, Georgia lawmakers passed dueling bills in the House and Senate to make permanent or abolish daylight saving time. Hawaii and Arizona already do not change their clocks. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is even leading an effort in Congress to make daylight saving time the new standard time.
Illinois can abolish daylight saving time on its own. However, congressional approval would be required to abolish standard time in the state.
via The State Journal-Register
April 30, 2021 at 07:32AM