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| 2 min read | by Doug Marrin, dmarrin@thesuntimesnews.com |

Saturday night before going to bed, we once again set our clocks back one hour bringing an end to Daylight Savings Time for 2019.

Of course, who uses clocks anymore? The reminder should say, “Don’t forget to look at your phone.”

The good news, of course, is that this “fall back” one hour gives us an extra hour sleep and the kids go to school when it’s light out. The bad news is we lose our evenings to darkness. It might also be time to dust off the therapy light and change the batteries in the smoke detectors.

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As we know, the main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called “Summer Time” in many places in the world) is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks at the end of winter to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening getting ready for spring.

The idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784, in an essay, “An Economical Project.” Not much was done with the idea until more than a century later when, in April of 1916 during World War I, Germany and Austria began saving an hour of daylight by advancing the hands of the clock one hour until the following October. The extended hour of light was designed to conserve fuel needed to produce electric power.

Other countries quickly followed with the U.S. formally adopting “An Act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States” in 1918. But in the predominantly agricultural society at that time, people generally rose earlier in the morning and went to bed earlier in the evening. The Act was wildly unpopular and it was soon repealed in 1919.

During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round Daylight Saving Time, calling it “War Time”. Afterward, from 1945 to 1966, there was no federal law regarding Daylight Saving Time, so states and localities were free to choose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time and could choose when it began and ended. This understandably caused a lot of confusion, especially for businesses based on scheduling such as the broadcasting industry, railways, airlines, and bus companies.

President Nixon federally standardized the practice during the energy crisis of the ’70s by signing into law the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973. There were a couple of amended tweaks to the law, but in 2007, the legislature determined Daylight Savings time would:

  • begin at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March, and
  • end at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.

The time of 2:00 a.m. was chosen to minimize disruption.

This past winter there was a bill introduced in the Michigan legislature that if passed would end Daylight Savings Time. It would require Michigan to remain on Eastern Standard Time when other states ‘spring forward.’

While a lot of folks would like to see the practice of moving the clocks back and forth an hour ended, this bill would mean that in the summer, during the month of June in Michigan, the sun would set around 8:00 p.m. and sunrise would be around 4:55 a.m. Instead of ‘daylight savings’, daytime could be squandered as we sleep through the first couple hours of daylight. To date, the Bill has gained no traction and seems to have faded into the sunset.

Observance of Daylight Savings Time continues to be a worldwide practice with highly variable start and end dates.

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