Illinois considers ditching time change



January 6, 2020 - 9:40 AM

A proposal in the Illinois Legislature to make Daylight Saving Time permanent would mean residents there wouldn’t change their clocks twice a year. The Legislature would trade elimination of this minor inconvenience for a world of hassle in border regions like St. Louis and the Metro East, where those who commute across the state line daily would, for part of the year, have to adjust to time changes with each crossing.

There are good arguments both for and against scuttling the biannual changing of the clocks. But as other states talk about doing what Illinois is considering, it’s increasingly clear that there’s no good argument for allowing an inconsistent patchwork in which states are setting their clocks differently from neighboring states for part of the year.

The issue should be settled one way or the other by federal legislation.

Daylight Saving Time is meant to help people utilize more daylight from late spring to early fall. After years of inconsistent application around America, a national standard Daylight Saving Time was established in 1966, but with a provision that individual states could opt out. Arizona and Hawaii currently stay on standard time year-round.

But more than 35 other states, including Illinois, are considering similar moves to a single, year-round time standard. The Illinois measure to put the state permanently on Daylight Saving Time means that anyone crossing from Missouri to Illinois for half the year would have to adjust to an hour’s time difference. It’s true that such border time changes are already necessary when crossing into each of the four time zones in the continental U.S., but those are permanent time differences, not differences that come and go seasonally.

Proponents of the Illinois plan argue that the twice-a-year clock change is an outdated system that creates a biannual inconvenience for no good reason. That argument may be valid, but changing that system in patchwork fashion trades one inconvenience for another.

The moves by Illinois and other states to buck the time change, if it becomes a trend, promises to inflict seasonal chaos along many state borders. Reasonable people can debate whether it’s best to use standard time, Daylight Saving Time or the current combination of both — but it’s a debate that should be happening in Congress, not state by state.

November 9, 2021
February 15, 2021
January 24, 2019
January 13, 2011