Idea of dumping daylight time is gaining traction

Monday, March 6, 2017

The idea of eliminating daylight saving time in Nebraska seems to be gaining traction.

Friday, four people spoke in favor of LB 309, which would eliminate daylight time, four against and two letters in support were submitted to the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee's hearing on the subject.

The opponents reinforced points we've raised in this space many times before.

Suddenly switching the clock disrupts the body's internal clock, leading to mayhem such as more traffic accidents, decreased concentration for students and children as well as everyone else, and a higher risk of stroke and heart attack.

Farmers are baffled over being blamed for the practice, since it never really had anything to do with agriculture.

In fact, sponsor Sen. Lydia Brasch observed that daylight time disrupts milking schedules on dairy farms.

"It's difficult to explain the theories of time to a cow," she said.

A Grand Island woman, who shares a sleep disorder with her step-son, testified that it takes her weeks to "feel like a healthy member of society again" after a time change.

The most compelling argument in favor of maintaining the status quo comes from the golf industry, with 286 courses in Nebraska that rely on golfers who want to play 18 holes after work.

Gov. Dave Heineman recognized golf as a $260 million industry in 2011, and courses in McCook, Cambridge and elsewhere in Southwest Nebraska testify to the sport's importance.

One possible move, retaining daylight saving time year round, is off the table because federal law prohibits states from doing so. Hawaii and most of Arizona don't change their clocks.

Safety issues such as children going to school in the dark are cited as reasons to adjust the clock, but there's no reason schools or businesses can't adapt on an individual basis according to their need for daylight.

If the measure fails to make it through the Legislature to Gov. Ricketts' desk this year, how about collecting signatures for a ballot initiative?

Monday, March 13, the day after daylight saving time goes into effect this week, would be a good day to start.

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