DAYLIGHT SAVING

The idea of having Missouri and Illinois in different time zones is circulating after the Illinois Senate approved legislation earlier this year that would make daylight saving time the standard in Illinois.

When Deborah Bruyette imagines a world where it is 5 p.m. in Missouri, but only 4 o’clock in Illinois, she doesn’t like it.

“That’s a no go. It would just throw everything off,” said Bruyette, a Freeburg resident who works at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville.

The idea of having Missouri and Illinois in different time zones is circulating after the Illinois Senate approved legislation earlier this year that would make daylight saving time the standard in Illinois.

Although the proposal still needs approval in the Illinois House, as well as the signature of the governor and an OK from the federal government, it has residents and business owners on both sides of the Mississippi River thinking how it might affect their lives.

Want to catch the 7:10 p.m. start of the Blues hockey game? Better check the clock twice if you live in the Metro East. Same goes for Missourians looking to head across the Poplar Street Bridge for a bite to eat or a trip to the mall in Fairview Heights.

Bruyette said having different time zones would cause problems for her when it comes to caring for her 95-year-old father, who lives in Missouri. Medical appointments, for example, would have to be heavily choreographed to ensure she would get him where he needs to go on time.

“For us to be on a different time zone, it would be just inconvenient,” Bruyette said. “I think it should be all the same time. It needs to be consistent.”

In sponsoring the proposed change, Illinois state Sen. Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat, said it would be good for business.

“Given the loss of productivity caused by the arbitrary daylight saving time change, and the various health and safety concerns that are supported by research, this proposal makes a lot of sense,” Manar said.

When daylight saving time is in effect, sunrise and sunset occur one hour later than during standard time, giving consumers a chance to shop before the sun sets.

But businesses near the border of a time zone also could feel negative effects if people leave work earlier in order to pick up their children from school or get to work later because of the change.

Research has shown that switching back to standard time in the fall is associated with a spike of diagnoses of depression and a modest increase in heart attacks.

Some Illinois residents don’t believe having Missouri and Illinois in different time zones would be a significant issue.

As finance manager at Mercedes-Benz of St. Louis, Edwardsville resident Eric Michel makes a 30- to 45-minute commute to work every day.

“Half of the year I’d have to go to work at 8 and half the year I’d have to go to work at 9. I don’t think it would have a huge impact,” Michel said.

“I do like the idea of having a set time,” Michel added. “It really is just a perception thing.”

The push in Illinois is not uncommon. More than 35 states introduced legislation in 2019 to do away with seasonal time changes by eliminating or standardizing daylight saving time.

Two proposals were introduced in the most recent legislative session in Missouri. Rep. Aaron Griesheimer, R-Washington, proposed making daylight saving time the year-round standard. Rep. Ann Kelley, R-Lamar, proposed asking voters if they want to amend the state constitution to make daylight saving time the year-round clock. Both proposals failed to advance.

If the Illinois law is enacted, clocks there would “spring forward” one last time in March 2020 and then “daylight saving time shall be the year-round standard time of the entire state,” according to the text of the bill.

Except for Hawaii and Arizona, no other state has put such a plan into action, primarily because it’s an issue that must be decided by the federal government.

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

Missouri Rep. Tim Remole, R-Excello, thinks he has a solution to the worries about borders becoming time zone lines.

Earlier this month, he introduced legislation to make daylight saving time permanent in Missouri.

But in order to avoid states having different times, the measure wouldn’t go into effect until 20 other states join a pact.

“I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about it,” Remole said. “It just causes a lot of hassle.”

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

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