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NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: It’s time we keep our clocks the same all year round

Did you set your clocks one hour earlier or one hour later Saturday night so you would get to church on time Sunday morning? If you set them later, you were really late.

Don’t forget the daylight saving time memory trick: Spring forward; fall back.

Changing all your clocks twice every year is a pain in the neck. And News-Sentinel.com maintains it is an inconvenience that is simply not necessary.

Most of the country had to roll their clocks back an hour over the weekend as nearly eight months of daylight saving time came to an end. DST is the annual ritual of advancing time by one hour during summer months so that the clock tells us darkness is falling later each day.

But as an Associated Press story Friday pointed out, it is part of a twice-a-year ritual that most people want to stop. Seven in 10 Americans prefer not to switch back and forth to mark daylight saving time, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Of those seven in 10, the poll shows, 4 want to stay on standard time year-round, while the other 3 want to stay on DST. That’s been the problem when debating what is the best “time” for Indiana — nobody can ever seem to agree.

Indiana was a latecomer to the biannual change like the one at 2 a.m. local time Sunday. Most other states have done the “move your clocks an hour later in spring and an hour earlier in fall” routine since Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966. Under that act, states can opt out of DST (as Indiana once did) and observe standard time year-round. But those that follow DST must continue changing their clocks each November and March.

“When Indiana finally adopted DST in 2006,” we wrote in a March 2017 editorial, “then-Gov. Mitch Daniels cited the great energy savings and economic boom to come, but of course they never did. The real reason we jumped in, though, was simply to stop being made fun of. With us out of the picture, Hawaii and Arizona are now the only two states left without DST. They’re starting to look like the smart ones.”

The AP-NORC poll found about four in 10 Americans 45 and older prefer permanent DST, compared with about two in 10 of those younger, who are more likely than their elders to prefer either standard time year round or switching back and forth.

The case for DST has been getting weaker in recent years under a rising chorus of voices demanding to scrap the whole thing. And that makes sense to us.

Making DST year-round is a national movement that is gaining traction.

State legislatures in more than 30 states have introduced bills to adopt either permanent DST or standard time. Oregon, Washington, California and Florida approved year-round DST, although nothing will change unless Congress gives its approval.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the Sunshine Protection Act last March to allow states to adopt permanent DST. He said changing clocks “no longer serves any purpose.”

Rubio says the benefits of year-round DST would include reducing traffic accidents, heart attacks, robberies, obesity and energy usage, while boosting the farming and tourism industries and the economy overall. No action has been taken on his proposal.

Reporter Mark Bennett wrote in Sunday’s Terre Haute Tribune-Star about a movement called “Lock The Clock,” headed by Denver startup entrepreneur Scott Yates, who insists the resetting of clocks is not necessary.

“Lock The Clock isn’t advocating for all-standard time or all-daylight saving time,” Bennett wrote. “Instead, the organization wants Congress to allow states to select a time zone and leave it.”

Yates told Bennett in an email: “First, we should agree to ‘Lock The Clock’ and stop switching, and then each state can have a conversation about what’s best for that state, pick one time zone and stick with it.”

While all of Indiana resets its clocks in spring and fall and most of the state uses Eastern Standard Time and Eastern Daylight Time, some counties near the southwestern and northwestern border of the state use Central Standard Time and Central Daylight Time. A bill to move Indiana from Eastern Daylight Time to Central Daylight Time died in this year’s session of the General Assembly.

Lock The Clock sees that as a separate debate from permanent daylight saving time. Whether Indiana picks Eastern or Central, Yates told the Terre Haute newspaper, the logical format is to leave it that way all year.

DST has had its run, and it’s time we stop fooling with our clocks twice a year.

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