Ohioans will no longer have to worry about springing forward or falling back, if a group of Republican state senators has its way.
Sens. Kristina Roegner, of Hudson, and Bob Peterson, of Fayette County, on Tuesday introduced a bill that would declare that Ohio has opted out of changing its clocks. In other words, the state’s clocks would remain on Daylight Saving Time year-round, according to a memo they circulated among state lawmakers seeking co-sponsors.
It also would forbid any public agency or local government from observing the time-change event, which shifts clocks one hour forward in the spring and then back again in the fall.
Two other state senators, Sens. Lou Terhar and Joe Uecker, both of the Cincinnati area, have signed on as co-sponsors. It would require approval from the entire House and Senate and a signature by the governor — as well as federal approval — for it to go into effect.
Roegner and Peterson are calling Senate Bill 119 the “Ohio Sunshine Protection Act.”
In a Wednesday interview, Roegner said she got the idea earlier this month after someone complained on Facebook about the time change. She then asked her friends if they would support ending the time change, and she got a big response, almost universally positive.
“I was really, really shocked at the level of interest in this topic,” she said.
So what are they thinking?
The practice was originally adopted sporadically during World War I to save energy, and adopted nationwide under the Uniform Time Act of 1966.
But “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,” Roegner and Peterson wrote in their co-sponsor memo.
The memo cites Indiana’s 2006 decision to finally adopt Daylight Saving Time, and a National Bureau of Economic Research study that found the switch actually increased energy use.
The co-sponsor memo also cites research that suggests a link between time changes and on-the-job accidents, due to sleep disruption caused by the time change. It cites a 2009 study by Michigan State University researchers that concluded that “schedule changes, such as those involved in switches to and from Daylight Saving time, place employees in clear and present danger.”
“For these reasons, this legislation proposes to remove the biannual disruption in the lives of Ohioans caused by changing clocks twice a year,” the memo reads.
Do any other states not observe Daylight Savings Time?
Only two states, Arizona and Hawaii, have never observed Daylight Saving Time, and remain on Standard Time throughout the year. As previously mentioned, Indiana waited until 2006 until adopting DST under a push championed by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Daniels, a Republican, believed being out of sync with the rest of the Eastern Time Zone was confusing to outsiders and hurt the state’s economy, according to the Indianapolis Star.
Florida recently approved adopting Daylight Saving Time year-round, but the measure has languished in the U.S. Congress, whose approval is needed, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Roegner acknowledged it may be confusing or inconvenient if Ohio changes their time but neighboring states don’t.
“At the end of the day, we’ll have to weigh out the pros and cons,” she said.
Of note, ending the time change has one prominent Republican backer.
“Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!” President Donald Trump tweeted earlier this month, the first Monday after most Americans set their clocks back an hour.