Lansing lawmaker introduces a bill to adopt Daylight Saving Time permanently

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(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Right now, Michigan moves the clocks ahead one hour every March, then back again every November. A bill introduced in Lansing on Thursday could put an end to that.

The bill, introduced by Republican State Rep. Michele Hoitenga, would not be strictly binding. It says, if Congress amends federal law to allow it, then it would be the intent of the Michigan legislature to convert to Daylight Saving Time permanently.

Hoitenga introduced a permanent DST bill back in 2019, and according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 32 other states have similar bills in the works. Six of them have passed those bills: Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Georgia.

When DST takes effect in the spring, we gain an hour of darkness in the morning and an hour of daylight in the evening. This was originally meant as an energy-saving measure, but recent studies differ on whether it still has that intended effect.

It’s a myth that DST was created for the convenience of farmers. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, agricultural groups are often among the most vocal critics of DST, since it interferes with their schedules and work crews.

Instead, some people support DST because of the extra daylight in the evening, which they believe has a positive impact on business. That’s why, despite being allowed to ditch DST altogether, only two states have done so: Hawaii and Arizona. This new bill was even referred to the State House Committee on Commerce and Tourism.

State Rep. Hoitenga’s bill would not take effect unless Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania all make the switch to permanent DST as well. This would help insulate Michigan from some adverse consequences. If our state makes the change to permanent DST, but other states keep switching back to Standard Time in November, Michigan would be one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time and two hours ahead of Central Time, complicating business with states that don’t make the switch as well. This was a criticism of similar bills in years past.

Because Michigan is located on the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, the sun is never highest at noon in our state. The so-called “solar noon” is always in the afternoon, and it moves even farther away from actual noon during Daylight Saving Time. For example, on the day we “spring forward” in March, solar noon happens after 2:00 p.m. in some parts of Northwestern Michigan. In contrast, solar noon is closest to actual noon on the day we “fall back” to Standard Time in November. In some areas, it can happen as early as 12:15 p.m.

Click here to read State Rep. Hoitenga’s bill for yourself.

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