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Proposal would keep Ohio on Daylight Saving Time

Special to the Legal News

Published: December 2, 2019

Lawmakers in the Ohio Senate gave a third hearing to bill meant to end the state's adherence to Daylight Saving Time, which most notably advances clocks an hour in late winter-early spring only to be returned to standard time in the fall.
Come next March, the Buckeye State would "spring forward" one final time to remain in perpetual daylight-saving mode if the state's Sunshine Protection Act is enacted.
Filed as Senate Bill 119, the measure would end the twice-annual practice of adjusting clocks and household appliances March 8.
"This is an important discussion to have given how modern technology has changed the way we live our lives today, as well as the fact nobody enjoys the 'spring forward' and losing an hour of sleep," said a joint sponsor of the bill, Sen. Bob Peterson, R-Washington Court House.
Daylight Saving Time - first instituted in the United States during World War I - was devised to extend daylight working hours in order to use less artificial light and save fuel for the war effort, a press release detailed. The effects of technological advancements over the years, however, have led to a reduction in power consumption by ever-more-efficient artificial lighting.
"Ohio's Sunshine Protection Act would provide daylight later in the day all year long and eliminate the generally loathed switching of the clocks twice a year," said fellow joint sponsor Sen. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson. "As I heard once, clocks are meant to go around and around - not jump back and forth."
The bill would require the state to observe permanent Daylight Saving Time, notwithstanding a federal law that indicates Congress' intent to supersede any state law that does not comply with requirements that include the entire state observing any deviation from the standard.
Additionally, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation may obtain an injunction to prevent any state from violating the law, analysis of the bill provided by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission noted.
"The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution prohibits a state from establishing laws that are contrary to federal laws," attorney Helena Volzer wrote for the commission. "When there is a conflict between a state law and federal law, the federal law, subject to other provisions of the U.S. Constitution, supersedes or preempts the state law."
Volzer concluded that the Transportation secretary could initiate an injunction to preclude the bill's efficacy, if enacted.
The lawmakers provided data from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which found that - contrary to the policy's intent - Daylight Saving Time increases residential electricity demand.
A published study found that estimates of the overall increase are approximately 1 percent, though not consistently throughout the period. The greatest increase in electricity consumption is in the fall, when estimates range between 2 and 4 percent, the study detailed.
Two senators have signed on as cosponsors of the bill, which had not been scheduled a fourth hearing at time of publication.
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