LANSING (MIRS News) – There would be no more need to “fall back” with our clocks in November and “spring ahead” again in March if legislation approved today by the House Commerce and Tourism Committee is eventually successful.
But sponsor Rep. Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton) said that real intent of her HB 4303 is to send a message to Congress to put the entire country permanently on Daylight Savings Time (DST).
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“That would be the correct thing to happen, for the federal government to do this nationwide,” she said.
Committee members voted 6-4-1 to refer the legislation to House Ways and Means Committee. Dissenters included Reps. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette), Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Twp.), Kara Hope (D-Holt) and Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham). Rep. Pauline Wendzel (R-Watervliet) passed.
“I didn’t vote no on permanent Daylight Savings Time. I voted no on a bill that would require a compact with other states for anything to go into effect,” Camilleri explained. “The problem is, the bill wouldn’t really do much for us to address this issue. I think it is a worthy topic of discussion, but the way that the bill was drafted really doesn’t get to the core of anything . . . It is a topic of conversation that we always bring up around Daylight Savings Time. If we are going to do something about it, it has to happen at the federal level.”
Hoitenga noted that she has picked up the issue from Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Twp.), who introduced similar legislation every session when he was in the House.
Hoitenga said it is an antiquated practice which is no longer needed. And permanent DST would mean no more winter days with it getting dark at 5 in the afternoon.
She pointed to previous testimony from a farmer that even cows don’t like the twice-annual clock change. They get milked at the same time each day and the clock change disrupts their schedule.
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Hoitenga noted that the bill contains language that Michigan would switch only if the surrounding states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania also did so.
“We don’t want to become an island and that’s why we put those precautions in there. And the states around us have similar legislation. We are trying to stay in touch and get this legislation to move together. That would really send a loud message to Washington D.C. and maybe they can get something done out there,” Hoitenga said.
DST began as an energy-saving strategy during World War I, according to the analysis of the bill, and was implemented again during World War II. It was used during the energy crisis of the 1970s.
The rationale was that, with an hour of sunlight transferred from the morning to the evening, individuals would consume less energy, specifically energy for lighting, in the evenings.
In the ’60s, the Michigan legislature passed a law exempting the state from DST. The issue became a referendum on the ballot in 1968 and out of 2.5 million votes cast, there was a 44-vote difference. As a result, the state stayed with DST.
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