EDITORIAL: State, nation should ditch clock changes

Is there a single soul in Nevada who loves springing forward and falling back? Is there anyone who’ll stand up and passionately defend the practice of switching to daylight saving time in March and winding clocks forward an hour, then abandoning it each November and turning clocks back?

Apparently not. When state lawmakers heard testimony last month on Assembly Joint Resolution 4, which seeks to end the disruptive time changes by leaving Nevada on daylight saving time year-round, no one offered arguments against the measure.

Lobbyists outnumber lawmakers by a ratio of more than 12 to 1, and not one of those advocates opposed AJR4, the Review-Journal’s Sean Whaley reported Sunday. No one from government. No one from the gaming and tourism industries. No one from mining. No one from agriculture — the industry that supposedly benefits from daylight saving but actually opposed its institution in 1918 because of the disruptions it creates.

If lawmakers don’t have enough reasons to support AJR4, they likely heard more if any of them were out in the public Sunday. Nevada and most of the rest of the nation turned their clocks forward an hour that day, shortening the weekend by an hour and throwing off schedules and sleep patterns from Laughlin to Lovelock. If anyone was happy about it, they kept it to themselves.

“I was surprised at how many people just hate having to change their clocks and have their schedules messed up,” said Assemblyman Chris Edwards, R-Las Vegas, one of the resolution’s sponsors.

AJR4 would make the sun set later in the winter while preserving longer summer days. Arizona, which along with Hawaii does not observe daylight saving time and never changes its clocks, takes the opposite approach by remaining on Mountain Standard Time year-round. That ensures the sun sets sooner during the broiling summer months and gives residents longer, more comfortable evening hours.

Daylight saving time was instituted as a wartime conservation effort, but recent studies show it provides no significant energy savings. During the summer months, increased air conditioning use more than offsets whatever savings are associated with reduced lighting.

Our twice-a-year clock changes are a perfect example of continuing to do something simply because we’ve done it for so long. And federal law ensures that we spring forward and fall back, even though we hate it. If AJR4 is passed by the Legislature, Congress would have to pass a bill that allows Nevada to stop its clock changes. Then the Legislature would have to take up the matter again in 2017 to authorize it.

If anyone argues that staying with daylight saving time year-round might hurt tourism, Arizona and Hawaii, two heavily tourism-dependent states, prove otherwise. Besides, Nevada’s resorts have never been terribly concerned with keeping visitors oriented to daylight — its casinos lack clocks and windows.

It shouldn’t require an act of Congress to let Nevada abandon clock changes. The far better solution: Take the entire country off daylight saving and join the majority of the world’s nations in not wasting time twice a year resetting clocks.

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