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Column: End Daylight Saving Time, but not just in Illinois

Tom Collins
Tom Collins

An old friend was getting married and I had a must-not-miss flight out of Indianapolis to the site of the nuptials. Indy’s airport was two hours flat from Champaign and I may have violated the speed limit. Maybe.

(I can say that, right? Surely, the statute of limitations ran out on moving violations from 1994.)

The extra fossil fuels were burned for nothing. In a mistake that only a rookie Midwest transplant could have made, I rolled my watch forward while crossing the Indiana state line and plum forgot that at that time the Hoosier State didn’t observe Daylight Saving Time. (Indiana adopted it in 2006.)

And to think I risked a roadside beating by the Indiana State Police for nothing.

I dust off this little chestnut to preface a piece of legislation that I hope doesn’t see the light of day this spring. (Pun fully intended.)

State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Staunton) filed legislation Senate Bill 533 to stop adjusting our clocks twice a year. If Manar’s bill passes, then Illinoisans will roll the clock forward one last time on March 8, 2020, and then leave it there. Central Daylight Time would become permanent in Illinois. The bill passed the Senate last week 44-2.

There are few Americans who hate Daylight Saving Time as much as I do, and in that spirit I applaud Springfield for trying to end one of the dumbest practices in human history. Though I am, for reasons to be fleshed out momentarily, against the bill itself I hope Sen. Manar doesn’t think I hold anything against him. He’s a kindred spirit with a better head on his shoulders than anyone who likes Daylight Saving Time. (Not that I know of anyone who does.)

But if Illinois acts and the federal government sits idly by, then this bill would only add new confusion to an already patchwork time schedule.

Think about it a moment. We would remain an hour behind New York time during the summer months but stay even with New York doing the winter months. Confused yet? Then there is a small portion of Indiana that’s on Chicago time for now. If we make the switch to CDT permanent, then a trek through Chicago to Gary to South Bend means passing through say, 1 p.m., then noon and back to 1 p.m. in the span of about 65 miles. Still not confused?

And most of the country still practices Daylight Saving Time, the notable exceptions being Arizona and Hawaii. The Land of Lincoln has enough problems without the rest of America disdaining us for throwing off their clocks. If we abolish the practice — and we should — Congress needs to do so. Nationwide implementation is the only viable option.

(That said, ours is not the only legislature kicking this idea around. About half the states have at least one bill filed in 2019 to abolish clock-rolling once and for all.)

Daylight Saving Time was a bad idea and its legacy is to make workers irritable two weeks out of the year while they endure a miniaturized version of jet lag.

Manar is right: The hands of time need to stay where they are. But putting a stop to it means acting as a nation, and that means real relief necessarily must go through Washington, not Springfield.

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or TCollins@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_Court.

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