Dunagin: Let’s quit changing the time

By CHARLIE DUNAGIN COLUMNIST,

Well, it’s that time of year again, time to fall back with the clock.

Sunday at 2 a.m., most of the nation and part of the rest of the world reverts to standard time. Some folks are looking forward to an extra hour of sleep. Since I usually wake up before sunup, it doesn’t make that much difference to me.

I’m not sure which I like the best — standard time or daylight saving time. I think it’s the schedule that I get used to before it changes again.

What I don’t like is changing the clock twice a year.

I’d vote to leave us on standard time year round — or as a second choice, go daylight saving time all 12 months. Just stop changing it.

If there was a reason for changing the clocks twice a year — and perhaps there was in World War I and World War II — it no longer exists.

Back then, presumably, the extra hour of daylight in the evenings meant less consumption of electricity for burning lights. In World War I in Germany and France, it was purposed to save coal.

Now, with air-conditioning and all sorts of power consuming gadgets, studies show there isn’t much advantage, energy-wise, to running up the clock an hour. The time of year dictates whether air-conditioning and heaters run more than the time of day.

The advantage of daylight saving time, especially for people with daytime  jobs, is that it provides more daylight  after working hours for outdoor activities.

The disadvantage for some people in rural areas is they have to head for work in the dark, or in the case of school kids, catch the bus before daylight.

I recall back in the days when dairying was a major enterprise in Pike and Walthall counties, as well as adjacent Louisiana areas, dairy farmers complained about the time change to daylight saving. They had to get up early enough before daylight on standard time.

This was impressed upon me one morning about 3 a.m.  when a dairyman woke me up with a telephone call.

It seems the night before, an Enterprise-Journal reporter who had been assigned to write an article on dairy farming had called this guy after he had gone to sleep for the night.

Obviously, dairy farmers back then went to bed earlier than newspaper reporters, and it was before most people had caller ID. Not knowing the reporter’s number or recalling his name, the farmer  got his retribution on me, the editor.

But I digress from the subject of daylight saving time.

There are two states — Arizona and Hawaii — that don’t observe  it.

They say summers are so hot in Arizona that they need the sun to set as early as possible. But the Navajo Nation in Arizona does observe daylight saving time.

In Hawaii, there isn’t a huge difference in the number of daylight hours between winter and summer so they see no need to fiddle with the clock twice a year..

There are a number of states that have passed legislation that could lead to keeping the same time year round. But unlike Arizona and Hawaii, most or all of these  would settle  on daylight saving time.

According to Wikipedia, a movement has been organized in support of the legalization of using daylight saving time as the year-round clock option. The argument  is that the lifestyles and work patterns of modern-day citizens are no longer compatible with the concept of shifting the clock every spring and fall.

Don’t look for it to happen anytime soon though. Congress has to sign off on allowing states to keep daylight savings time year round, although they can, like Arizona and Hawaii did, keep standard time year round.

Daylight savings appears to be the more popular option.

In 2018, Florida approved the “Sunshine Protection Act” which seeks to permanently leave Florida in daylight saving time. The bill is still waiting on approval from Congress before it can go into effect.

Arkansas has passed a bill to make daylight saving time permanent, but it included the condition that the changes wouldn’t go into effect until its bordering states changed their clocks permanently too.

Other states that have approved legislation to enact year-long daylight saving time include Washington, Tennessee, Oregon, Nevada, and Alabama. But none of the changes can go into effect without approval from the federal government.

A few bills were introduced in the Mississippi Legislature earlier this year on the subject. Like a lot of other legislation, they died in committee.

So, set those clocks back an hour before going to bed Saturday night and get used to the time which will change again in March.

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