Year-round Daylight Saving Time? Michigan beware

time

Michigan is one of at least 16 state legislatures that have seen bills introduced dealing with Daylight Saving Time so far this year. They get attention, but rarely pass.

Lucido

Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, introduced House Bill 4011, which as written exempts Michigan from observing Daylight Saving Time. Lucido said he has drafted a revised version that would move Michigan permanently onto Daylight Saving Time.

LANSING — A week or so ago, an Indiana executive named Dave Arland took a call from someone who wanted to set up a meeting. The caller asked for the current time in Indiana.

Keep in mind, it's been more than 10 years since Indiana began changing its clocks twice a year like most of the rest of the country.

Even so, the questions haven't yet stopped.

It's March, the time of year when we push clocks forward an hour and routinely question the wisdom of doing so.

Michigan is one of at least 16 state legislatures that have bills introduced dealing with Daylight Saving Time so far this year, according to a recent post from the National Conference of State Legislatures. They get attention, but rarely pass.

Supporters of a bill in the Michigan House say time changes are inconvenient and harmful to sleep rhythms, worker productivity and general health.

But that doesn't mean that getting rid of time shifts will be good for business, if you ask people in Indiana, where businesspeople say being out of sync with the rest of the country brought a host of headaches.

Until 2006, the majority of Indiana counties in the Eastern Time Zone stayed put while nearly every other state sprang forward and fell back. That meant most of Indiana spent winters following New York's clock and summers on Chicago time.

"Caveat emptor, that would be my advice," said Arland, executive director of the Indiana Broadcasters Association. Buyer beware.

"If you're not careful," he added, "you'll be an island, and people will never know what time it is in Michigan."

The opt-out bill

Rep. Peter Lucido, a Republican from Shelby Township, is the sponsor of a bill that received a hearing last week in a House committee. As written, Michigan would opt out of the time change, though Lucido said he has revised it to allow Michigan to permanently stay in Daylight Saving Time. Washington would have to say OK first.­

"There is no rational basis, no logic and, most importantly, no common sense" behind the switch from standard to daylight time, Lucido told the committee.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, which regulates the nation's time zones, says observing daylight time conserves energy, lowers the number of traffic-related injuries and reduces crime.

Evidence is mixed. Academic studies also have found that changing clocks leads to sleep deprivation that increases traffic fatalities, offsets any energy savings from turning on lights with higher demand for air conditioners and could increase the frequency of workplace injuries.

Lucido told reporters that Michigan should lead the effort to adopt a single time. He said he has heard from Michiganders who want year-round daylight time and residents already have to adjust to changes in time zones when they cross borders.

"We do business here in Michigan," he said.

Business, though, happens across borders. Indiana chamber leaders say one of the biggest challenges of following a single clock all year was that people from outside the state who worked with companies in the Hoosier State never knew what time it was. ‑

The time change contributed to missed conference calls and deliveries and shipments that would show up early or late, said Mark Fisher, the chief policy officer at the Indy Chamber. Sometimes, companies that bid on municipal bond issues would submit bids after the acceptance window closed because they didn't realize the hour difference.

"Those of us who had to do business with people on the East Coast or West Coast, you wanted to be in sync with somebody and, instead, we were always out of sync," Arland said, adding that broadcasters had to air shows on tape delay, which made station operations "mind-numbingly confusing."

And confusion, he said, is detrimental to business.

Arizona and Hawaii are the only other states that don't follow Daylight Saving Time.

"Those of us who are lifelong Hoosiers, like myself, were quite pleased to join the rest of society, even though it does mean resetting your clocks," he added. "A lot of them set themselves nowadays."

Farmers and drive-in movie theater owners were among the main holdouts to observing Daylight Saving Time. Farmers, who work during daylight hours, weren't in favor of losing an hour of sunlight in the early morning and working later into the evening. Yet their opposition was less adamant by the end, said Katrina Hall, public policy director for the Indiana Farm Bureau.

"Nobody else was on our side, so it was hard for us to put much effort into fighting it," she said. "We have seemingly adjusted to it fairly well."

Business leaders who were around in the mid-2000s say staying on a single time all year was a logistical nightmare.

"Where are most of your customers, your suppliers, your end users of products that you make?" Fisher said. "Is it better to be tied in the same time zone as the rest of your economy?"

It gets tricky

Federal law says states either can observe Daylight Saving Time, which requires them to change clocks on the same March and November dates, or exempt themselves from the switch and follow standard time year round. Observing Daylight Saving Time year round isn't an option, even though Americans spend most of their year on its clock.

The federal Transportation Department said commerce is the main factor influencing decisions to swap time zones — namely, where businesses ship products, where newspapers are published and TV networks broadcast and where airports are located.

Here's where it gets tricky: To make year-round daylight time happen, Michigan would technically have to leave the Eastern Time Zone and align itself with Nova Scotia, which follows Atlantic Time an hour ahead of Detroit and New York. Michigan would be the only U.S. state in this time zone. It then would have to exempt itself from observing Daylight Saving Time.

Got that?

In case not, here's an example. Let's say it's a summer night, 8 p.m. in Detroit and New York (7 p.m. in Chicago) during Daylight Saving Time. Fast forward to November, when New York and Chicago fall back and Michigan does not. It's still 8 p.m. in Detroit, but now it's 7 p.m. in New York and 6 p.m. in Chicago.

So if the Legislature adopts Lucido's bill, and Gov. Rick Snyder were to sign it and petition the federal government to make the change, and U.S. transportation administrators were to agree to move Michigan into another time zone, then Michigan would spend the winter one hour ahead of New York and two hours ahead of Chicago.

"That's the problem," said Kevin Brinegar, president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, who was in the job in 2006. "I used to describe it as death by a thousand paper cuts," Brinegar said. "It sounds like this bill would open up that whole can of worms for your state, if it were to pass."

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce hasn't taken a position on the bill; Rich Studley, its president and CEO, said in an email that chamber members "would rather see state lawmakers spend their time on higher priority issues of broader concern," including workforce development and lowering the cost of Michigan's auto insurance.

Rep. Eric Leutheuser, R-Hillsdale and chairman of the House commerce and trade committee, said he was interested in holding a hearing, but doesn't plan a vote on the bill anytime soon.

Even if Lucido's bill goes nowhere, the issue will come around again — just like the time change.

About The Author

Lindsay VanHulle

Lindsay VanHulle covers business and Lansing for both Bridge and Crain's Detroit Business. She can be reached here. 

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Comments

DH
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 8:19am

This is about the dumbest article I have ever read here. Michigan already is in two different time zones. If I am doing business on the west coast, it doesn't matter what time it is here since it will never be the same as the west. Plus you point out that Indiana has two separate time zones so why are you going to them for advice? And the argument that we save energy only works if I sleep in until the sun comes up, otherwise I need to turn on lights in the morning instead of at night. Maybe we should all be on one time zone, set the clocks and be done with it. Sometimes I think I am going to have a heart attack just talking about changing the clocks.

John Saari
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 8:24am

Time zones are a necessary nuisance. The country should have as few as possible. Three time zones for the countries major markets.

Robert Burgess
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 8:42am

Living in Southwest Michigan, where the Indiana counties due south of where I sit are on Central time and the majority of professional sports fans root for the Cubs, Bears, and Bulls, I personally like the idea staying on the same time year round. (Me? Loyal Tigers, Pistons, and Lions fan to a fault.) Being on New York time in the winter and Chicago time in the summer, i.e., staying on Eastern standard time year round, would save me twice a year when my sleep patterns are disrupted. Besides, my son, a Michigan State graduate, lives and works in Chicago... (because Michigan cannot get its act together and improve its pre-K through university education system, infrastructure, and urban environment, etc. to attract and retain young people -- instead we have a legislature obsessed with silliness like staying on daylight savings time, increasing speed limits on pot holed roads, and other pointless issues). Seriously? This is not an issue worthy of Bridge Magazine.

Richard Pierce
Tue, 03/28/2017 - 4:38pm

Well done, thank you.

Randy Bishop
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 8:43am

Sorry,...the author is wrong!!!
Nova Scotia??? That's laughable,...Michigan would stay right were our clocks are NOW (3-27-17) and would never be moved,...again. We would simply be on Central Standard Time, which the majority of our geographic area aligns with,...look at a map!!!

Lindsay VanHulle
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 1:38pm

Hi Randy,

Thanks for commenting. States aren't allowed to stay on Daylight Saving Time year-round, per federal law, so Michigan couldn't keep its clock where it is today. The federal Uniform Time Act allows states to exempt themselves from following Daylight Saving Time or choose to follow Daylight Saving Time; if they choose to follow DST, they must change clocks on the same March and November dates.

Michigan either would have to exempt itself from DST and stay on Eastern Standard Time year round or, as Rep. Lucido's bill would do, move Michigan ahead a time zone (Atlantic Time) and then elect to not observe Daylight Saving Time. That would have the same effect on our clocks as staying in Eastern Daylight Time. Rep. Lucido confirmed his bill would require moving to the Atlantic Time Zone.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has a good explainer on DST here: https://www.transportation.gov/regulations/daylight-saving-time
and on the process to change time zones here:
https://www.transportation.gov/regulations/procedure-moving-area-one-tim...

Diane Pierce
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 8:44am

Putting Michigan permanently on DST would hurt travel between our families and friends in Michigan and Illinois. The two hour time difference would be disastrous. We can work around the one hour time difference,but 2 hours would limit our visiting back and forth. Bad bill!!

jesse
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 8:58am

Aren't there more pressing problems than this? If legislators have nothing better to do, then we don't need them at all. So why are we paying them just to play games like this?

RAP
Tue, 03/28/2017 - 4:40pm

They are trying to distract us from more important issues.

Marlino
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 9:41am

Listen and learn from someone who has been there . . .

Disbelieving
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 9:58am

While I am neither a strong advocate for or against daylight savings time, the argument that it causes sleep deprivation is just not believable - we're only talking one hour. The proponents for and against should provide logical, reasonable arguments to support their positions.

Lee Kirk
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:04am

Daylight Saving Time seems to pop as an issue this time of year as regularly as daffodils and tulips, with particular concerns about the very short term impacts of the time switch on our body rhythms.

What seems to get missed in all of this discussion is the significant health and economic benefits of our current regimen of moving the clocks ahead one hour in March and moving them back in November. An extra hour of daylight in the evening means one more hour for outdoor activities, and it is certainly reasonable to conclude that the benefits of exercise and being outdoors for that extra hour provide a health benefit that is far greater, and longer lasting, than any impact the time switch might have. Moreover, there are clear economic benefits, since many outdoor activities generate additional revenue for businesses, particularly those in tourism. When we have friends and family from the east coast, the west coast, or Illinois visit in the summer, they really appreciate the benefits of later sunsets.

I don't think that unilaterally moving the clocks ahead one hour permanently is a good idea, as the article points out, there is no good reason to change the current system.

Wayne Adams
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:11am

The whole country should set the clock ahead one hour forever. 8 months out of the year it already is set ahead, why not year round? I have not heard good arguments against it.

Barry Visel
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:23am

I hate daylight savings time. Evening campfires just aren't the same when it's still light out. (In case you think this is a tongue-in-cheek comment, I'm dead serious. I think we miss something if our total waking hours are daylight).

Aamato
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:31am

Let Michigan LEAD this change for other states and bravo to Rep. Lucido for having done just that in our state. Being a business owner that deals with folks all over the country on a daily basis and throughout the year, as well as having my immediate family dispersed from Atlanta to California and everywhere in between, being aware of others' time zones is a pretty normal part of day-to-day functioning in the 21st century. Considering one can find out the time of any zone on the planet via a gazillion apps and internet sites, pushing to maintain the status quo to avoid transitional learning and adaptation (by the most adaptable creature on Earth) seems like the wrong focus. Let's get a single time frame for those of us that live here whether "standard" time or "daylight time." My choice would be for more light each day but I could adapt to either.

Jeff Irwin
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:44am

The bad part about switching our clocks twice a year is that it reduces productivity and causes an increase in traffic and workplace accidents. Also, there is the lost energy from heating and cooling that outweighs the savings in lighting in addition to a spike in health problems like heart attacks from the self-induced jet lag.

On the other hand, every body else is doing it. So, it would be a big logistical headache if we stepped off this silly merry-go-round first. This right here is one of the only reasons to keep doing it: the rest of North America does.

The weight of the evidence is on scrapping it. But, maybe next year, the legislation will be structured like the National Popular Vote compact so that many states can lead us towards a more rational time-keeping scheme together.

A. Hunt
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:54am

We never had daylight savings time until the "energy crisis" in the 70's. When I was growing up, Michigan was always on New York time in the winter and Chicago time in the summer.
That meant the sun was always overhead at noon. It take two weeks each time for my inner "clock" to adjust twice a year. Let's just abolish the thing nationally. Does it really save energy to have lights on in the morning instead of the evening?

Shari Pollesch
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 11:30am

It is mind-numbing that this is what the Michigan legislature is spending its time on while our roads and bridges are still crumbling around us. Let's let mother nature determine what time it is...

Kevin Grand
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 11:44am

This is something that is long overdue, and being made into something more complicated than it should be.

For too long we have had things in Michigan tied to measures that are no longer applicable. School calendars are one and changing clocks for reasons that are no longer applicable is another.

Rep. Lucido has already pointed out the health, safety and performance benefits to be gained by scrapping this arcane concept, so where's the problem?

Representatives from business are throwing out the red herrings that it would lead to logistical issues. Since most Michigan businesses deal mainly within Michigan itself, that argument is moot. Any "inconveniences" that do come up would only affect a small minority, and NOT the majority of Michiganians.

People aren't clocks. You cannot just turn a dial forward or backward on someone and have everything run smoothly from that point on. I see the benefits from keeping Michigan on EDT outweighing any costs.

Matt
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 11:54am

Much of the issue we in Michigan have with the eastern time zone is that we are so far west in the time zone and have a very different daylight experience to those on the east coast. While I'd prefer to stay on daylight savings time, the trade offs ultimately leave you chasing your tail.

BILL
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 11:55am

Daylight savings time is no longer need. It was started during WWI. The only people who want it now are golf course owners and schools. Schools want it so they can schedule double header baseball and softball games. Michigan should be in the central time zone anyway. It was the auto companies who wanted Michigan on EST so they would be on the same times as the New York banks and stock exchange. Some of the counties in the U.P. are on central time because they do most of there business with Wisconsin . A look at a time zone map will show that Michigan should be on CST. If nothing else go back to daylight savings time 6 months like it used to be, 9 months is ridiculous.

LH
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:49pm

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce says they "would rather see state lawmakers spend their time on higher priority issues of broader concern." Amen! An hour change twice a year causes sleep deprivation and workplace injuries? Really??!! I personally would like to see daylight savings time all year because I am a night owl, but if we have to go through the hassle described above then let's just leave it alone. I have never experienced any sleep issues or any other ill effects of the time change in my nearly 60 years, and don't know anyone else who has either. I live in the central UP, which is on Eastern time, but the neighboring counties that border Wisconsin are on central time. Guess what? We deal with it, and I know of very few people who have missed meetings or appointments. I showed up an hour early to one meeting in 20-plus years of working in both time zones. I laughed at myself, went and had a cup of coffee, and came back an hour later. Our elected officials face many serious challenges, and this is not one of them. This bill should never make it out of committee.

Jon
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 1:00pm

Indiana is a poor example of problems, with half their state using one time scheme, and the other half anther time scheme. That's the source of confusion.

Lola Johnson
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 1:13pm

Hello down there! Does anyone know we're up here? Lucido's smug statement that "we do business in Michigan" doesn't apply to many businesses. Here in the U.P, the westernmost end is almost into the Mountain zone, and you want us all to move into the Atlantic zone? The timeline map is already fudging to put the entire peninsula except for the three counties that border Wisconsin into the Eastern zone. Many of us do business in Wisconsin and Minnesota. When I fly out of my local airport, the hub is Minneapolis. I live 100 miles north of Green Bay and you want me to run on Nova Scotia time?? I am 5 hours out of Chicago and 9 hours from Detroit. What we have now is working. It ain't broke. Please don't tinker with it.

Judie Davis Glick
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 2:44pm

Who remembers that time in the late '60's when Windsor and Detroit were on different times? the windsor rock station was what everyone listened to and times were changing then too.

DH
Tue, 03/28/2017 - 8:54am

I am glad I am not the only one who remembers this. I had relatives and Windsor and remember the time difference. Yet, when I went online to find out the years involved, I found nothing.

Rod Hill
Mon, 03/27/2017 - 4:40pm

Yet another bad idea from the party of bad ideas. Well put Mr. Studley!

Butch Fries
Tue, 03/28/2017 - 2:20pm

Now you get a sense of what it's like for those of us in the four counties of the UP that are required to follow Central rather than Eastern time. It's a headache. (And no, we don't have "economic ties" to Wisconsin that would justify the time zone. I own a business here and know pretty well where my "economic ties" are.)

Richard Pierce
Tue, 03/28/2017 - 4:35pm

Another hairball scheme from a republican! Go back to STANDARD TIME! Lets tackle issues of more importance like public school funding, true health care for all and climate change.

William Berry
Wed, 03/29/2017 - 4:12pm

Twice a year while I chase around my house changing the clocks I become annoyed. I cannot think of any reasonable reason for doing it. I don't care what time you make it, just pick it and then leave it alone.

Lou Steigerwald
Thu, 03/30/2017 - 10:31am

Nicely written and explained. Thank you.

Barb
Thu, 03/30/2017 - 6:05pm

I don't do much business with Novia Scotia myself so why would I want to be on their time? I hate daylight savings time and am miserable from March to November. Just let me stay on Eastern Time ALL YEAR!

Aldon Maleckas
Sun, 04/02/2017 - 11:33am

Whether you have Daylight Savings Time or regular time, pick one for the entire state of Michigan and never change.

Zygmunt Dworzecki
Wed, 04/05/2017 - 7:28am

Never liked daylight savings there is no evidence that there is any energy savings from which it was started in the first place. I have the change as it always took weeks for my body to adjust... many just end up getting sick and end up in the hospital with heart attacks or strokes. Set the rules and the businesses will find a way to work out the logistics as they always do!