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Ohio lawmakers looking to stop the clock on Daylight Saving Time

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

COLUMBUS (WCMH) —​State Senators Kristina Roegner and Bob Peterson want to stop changing clocks twice a year, and they aren’t alone.​

Twinsburg city council member Jo-Ann McFearin brought the idea to Roegner after seeing Florida pass similar legislation.​

The Ohio bill requires the state to observe permanent Daylight Saving Time, which is not permitted by Federal law.​ Back in 1966, the federal government passed the Uniform Time Act which requires states that observe Daylight Saving Time to all change the clocks at a set time twice a year.​

When that change happens has shifted over the years, and currently, it is the first Sunday in March at 2:00 a.m. (moving clocks ahead an hour) and again on the first Sunday in November at 2:00 a.m. (moving clocks back an hour).​

When the clocks are moved ahead, we are observing Daylight Saving Time and when we move them back we return to observing Standard Time.​

The federal law does not require any state to observe Daylight Saving time at all. As long as a state falls entirely in a time zone, and it is observed across the entire state, any state can opt-out of observing Daylight Saving Time and use Standard Time instead.​

There are also special rules for if a state falls in two different time zones and still wants to opt-out of observing Daylight Saving Time. But those don’t matter in Ohio’s case because we are solidly inside the Eastern Standard Timezone.​

If the Ohio bill were to pass a few things could happen.​

First, it would be unlikely the federal government would allow it to take effect; the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation could get a court-ordered injunction thanks to the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which prohibits states from establishing laws that are contrary to Federal Laws. When this happens, the U.S. Constitution supersedes state law.​

But let’s pretend for a second that wasn’t a thing. The bill would have Ohioans spring forward in March of 2020 and never adjust their clocks again.​

According to Roegner, people would not be so grumpy or groggy after that first Sunday in November. She also says that it would cut back on workplace injuries and increase productivity.​

While there is medical evidence that adjusting for the coming and going on Daylight Saving Time does occur, the body’s acclimation to the time change is usually short.​

As for the irritability of people, after they wake up on cold wintry mornings, it’s difficult to say if that is based on the difference of an hour or simply having to wake up to a frozen Ohio. Some find it hard to be chipper when it’s 12 degrees outside.​

Ohio could simply not observe Daylight Saving Time at all and go with Standard Time, but that is not ideal for some who prefer it to be earlier on the clock while it is light outside. ​

Several states have tried to pass legislation to change whether they observe Daylight Saving Time, Standard Time, switching to a completely different time zone (looking at you Delaware, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut), and a bevy of other options.​

Some have failed to pass that legislation while other states simply haven’t jumped on the time warp bandwagon. ​

Florida, Washington, and Tennessee have all passed and signed legislation adopting permanent Daylight Saving Time.​

Oregon has as well with the qualifier that it only takes effect if Washington and California also do the same, so half-way there.​

California has a bill in their state legislature right now, but it has stalled in the Senate.​

Alabama, Arkansas, and Nevada have passed resolutions which do nothing but urge Congress to make Daylight Saving Time permanent; which is kind of like asking nicely.​

Here in Ohio, the Senate Bill has had 3 hearings and if it eventually gets through the committee it is in; passed the chamber as a whole; and then through the entire process again on the House side of the building; it would go to the Governor for his signature.​

All of that would have to happen before the end of session 13 months from now, minus 5 months of summer break/campaigning that is coming soon.​

Roegner says a resolution urging Congress to act is also in the works.​

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