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Missouri House Wants To End Clock Changes With Permanent Daylight Saving Time

Sunrise over rush hour traffic on Interstate 64 in St. Louis County.
David Kovaluk
St. Louis Public Radio
The sun rises over rush-hour traffic on Interstate 64 in St. Louis County.

Missourians could soon be freed from the dreaded and laborious practice of changing their clocks twice a year.

That’s because the Missouri House gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would permanently put the state at daylight saving time if three of eight bordering states follow suit. In the year the three bordering states follow suit, each state would switch clocks to daylight saving for the last time. Then the time formerly known as daylight saving time will become standard time.

It’s a move that proponents say provides a boost for outdoor businesses and removes an annoying responsibility.

“We’d be the 24th state waiting to eliminate time change twice a year, back and forth,” said Rep. Chris Sander, R-Lone Jack, who sponsored the legislation.

The most common argument heard during debate on the legislation was convenience. Many proponents of the move stressed that they detested having to change their clocks twice a year and would prefer to just stay in one time all the time.

“Either one or the other, I don’t like to change my clock,” said Rep. Tim Taylor, R-Cooper County. “My wife has a clock that changes automatically on the wrong day now. And we just need to go to one time.”

Backers of the legislation also said that the original purpose of changing time twice a year, to help farmers, has long run its course.

“We get up with the sun and we go to bed with the sun,” said Rep. Don Rone, R-New Madrid County, who is a farmer. “So it’s not going to affect farmers at all.”

But detractors said there could be unintended consequences, especially for children.

“If you go to daylight saving time year-round, students would be in darkness when being picked up at the bus stop in the morning, if I understand it correctly,” said Rep. Trish Gunby, D-St. Louis County.

Rep. Barbara Phfier, D-Kirkwood, noted that the United States tried this idea back in the 1970s during an oil embargo as a way to save energy. She said that the people that tracked energy consumption found that “we actually consumed 3% more in energy costs over that winter.”

“It was not very popular, as a matter of fact,” Phifer said. “There was a hue and cry over that.”

Sander’s bill still needs another vote in the House before heading to the Senate.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.