Illinois Senate bill would abolish daylight saving time

By Joe Barnas, Illinois Policy Institute | May 16, 2019


This year alone, dozens of states saw attempts to end daylight saving time, the practice of turning back the clock an hour every November and an hour forward in March. A recent YouGov poll shows a majority of Americans – including 55% of Midwesterners – wish to end the practice.

One Illinois lawmaker is attempting to do away with the unpopular practice. State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, recently filed an amendment to Senate Bill 533 that would make March 2020 the last time Illinoisans have to turn their clocks forward.

“Daylight saving time” refers to both the biannual clock change and to the time of year that falls between March and November. During daylight saving time, the sun rises and sets one hour later than it would during “standard time,” between December and March.

Under Manar’s proposal, Illinoisans would no longer sacrifice early sunsets for morning light during the winter months. The amendment reads, “daylight saving time shall be the year-round standard time of the entire State.” That would mean more hours of daylight for Illinoisans.

Millennials are split on whether they approve of adjusting their clocks twice a year, according to the YouGov poll, but a majority of both Gen Xers and baby boomers support ending the practice. When it comes to whether those opposed want their clocks permanently set on standard or daylight saving time, Gen Xers are divided while baby boomers strongly favor the latter, which Manar’s amendment would make permanent, bringing longer daylight year-round.

Originally enacted as an energy-saving measure during World War I, daylight saving time reached its 100-year anniversary in 2018. While initially reserved as a local decision, the practice became law nationwide when U.S. Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966.

Some research has shown that not only does the practice fail to achieve its energy-saving goals, but that it may increase the risk of heart attacks and car accident fatalities. Moreover, many Americans find the biannual disruption to be simply annoying.

Illinois wouldn’t be the first to end the tradition. Hawaii has long opted out of daylight saving time. Arizona is the only state to opt out within the continental United States, but the Navajo Nation – which controls a large chunk of the state’s northeast corner – does observe it, making for an awkward arrangement in the Grand Canyon State. Several U.S. territories also do not observe daylight saving time.

If state lawmakers advance Manar’s proposal, Illinoisans may soon find themselves relieved of their clock-changing duties.

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