Bill would ditch daylight saving time in Michigan

Committee hearing in Lansing for legislation to stop changing the clocks

Rick Albin -

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) -- Daylight saving time is something that most of us don't think about regularly. Twice a year, we change our clocks and that's that. But at least one Michigan legislator says we should be thinking about it.

"I've taken the initiative to do what's necessary for daylight savings, to go ahead and lock the clock, set it and forget it," state Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, said.

He argues we're switching our clocks back and forth for no good reason. And during a Tuesday hearing before a legislative committee in Lansing, he said that in fact, the switch could be causing harm.

"The changing of the clocks on the human body, for example, it increased heart attacks by about 5 or 10 percent immediately after the change, which is Monday morning. These are documented figures," Lucido said.

He said that traffic crashes go up, workers are less productive and students are negatively impacted -- all, he said, because sleep habits are changed when we adjust the clock for daylight saving time.

His solution? Just quit it.

Pick a time, Lucido suggests -- Eastern Standard or Eastern Daylight -- and stick with it. He has introduced a bill to the state legislature to make that happen.

If Michigan stayed on Eastern Standard Time when everyone else springs forward, we would essentially be in the Central time zone. It would stay that way until the rest of the Eastern time zone fell back, at which point our time would be the same as that zone.

If, on the other hand, Michigan decided to stay on daylight saving time all the time, we'd be the same as everyone else during the spring and summer. During that period, we would be one hour ahead of Chicago and the same time as New York City -- just like we are now.

But in the fall, we wouldn't change when the rest of the world falls back. That would make Michigan time an hour ahead of New York. If it was 5 p.m. there, it would be 6 p.m. here and 4 p.m. in Chicago.

To make matters even more complicated, Michigan's Upper Peninsula has four counties that are currently in the Central time zone to make commerce with Wisconsin easier. Assuming those counties go through the process to stay that way, that could mean a two-hour time difference between Kingsford and Iron River, even though they are in the same state and the drive between them is only about 45 miles.

There was really no organized opposition to Rep. Lucido's plan. However, there was some confusion since the plan originally introduced would stick with Standard Time and a substitute would go with Daylight Time -- but Lucido said he offered the choice on purpose.

"I gave them an option and I gave them alternatives and a great legislator provides options and alternatives. Somebody that just pushes one is just a legislator," Lucido said.

A similar bill introduced last year didn't even get a committee hearing, which makes Lucido's effort that much further along in the process. Whether the measure will get a full committee vote or make it to the full House remains to be seen.

-----Online: House Bill 4011

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