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EDITORIAL: Stop changing the clocks

If you yawn while reading this, it’s not necessarily our fault. Instead, blame the time change — it often takes everyone several days to adjust to awakening an hour earlier.

Since we just moved our clocks forward, it seems like a good time to ask: Why do Americans keep messing with the time every spring and fall?

To be honest, we’re not sure.

Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell, wants us to stop changing our clocks each fall and spring. A bill he proposed in the recent legislative session would have put Wyoming on daylight saving time year-round, but the measure failed.

Some Wyoming lawmakers argued that we should keep changing our clocks because neighboring states change their clocks.

While that may be true for now, multiple states — including our neighbors to the north, south, east and west — also have considered daylight saving time legislation in recent weeks.

Colorado lawmakers considered a bill similar to Laursen’s proposal to keep the state on year-round daylight saving time. On Monday, the measure failed in committee, based largely on ski industry arguments that the early morning hour of daylight was needed to check chairlifts and check slopes for avalanches, according to the Colorado Independent.

In Montana, meanwhile, a House committee considered a bill this week that would instead keep the state on standard time all year. The Montana Senate approved the measure last month, but about two dozen residents spoke against the proposal Tuesday, The Missoulian reported.

Similarly, to the east, Nebraska lawmakers also are talking about bringing an end to daylight saving time in their state, according to The Associated Press.

To the west, Utah legislators recently considered letting voters decide whether the state should stop switching its clocks and stick with standard time, but lawmakers rejected the measure, the TV station Fox 13 reported. (Much like their counterparts in Wyoming, Utah lawmakers talked about the impact on cows during their debate over a possible time change.)

Farther to the west, lawmakers in Washington and Oregon are talking about petitioning Congress to have their states, as well as California, move to permanent daylight saving time, according to the Yakima Herald.

A similar proposal is being discussed among states on the East Coast.

Some in New England want to stay on daylight saving time throughout the year, the New York Times reported earlier this week.

After Rep. Laursen proposed ending the time change in Wyoming, we heard some people say it was silly or a waste of lawmakers’ time. But we have to ask, what is sillier: Finding a way to keep time consistent year-round, or changing our clocks for four months of the year for no apparent reason?

Research shows the energy savings are minimal or non-existent, but health risks actually increase when we mess with the clocks each spring and fall.

Part of the reason we keep changing our clocks in America is because we simply can’t agree on what to do. Some love the extra hour of daylight in the evening, while others would prefer it in the morning.

That disagreement is at the heart of how we got into the practice of switching our clocks for part of the year.

After World War II, some areas observed daylight saving time, and others didn’t, “creating an inconsistent approach to timekeeping,” the New York Times
reported.

“...  Congress split the difference in 1966 and set the rule as six months of standard time and six months of daylight saving time,” the Times continued.

Now, we only observe standard time for about four months — from November to March. We prefer the extra hour of sunlight in the evening in spring, summer and autumn months, and think it makes sense to keep daylight saving time year-round.

Though it’s a time-honored tradition to spring forward and fall back, we’re ready for the sun to set on the practice.

2 comments

  • posted by Nathan Walker

    March 29, 2017 7:55 pm

    Daylight Savings Time was extended in the 70's and in 1986 due to the energy crisis. Keeping time standardized in each time zone makes the most sense. Regardless if it is DST or Standard Time. It made no sense for Wyoming to be on a different time with it's neighbors to the north and south, but in the same time zone as Chicago during the winter.

  • posted by l haines

    March 17, 2017 7:10 pm

    Where can we vote to keep daylight savings all year round?

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