COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio becomes the 14th U.S. state where legislators have urged Congress to end the practice of setting the clocks back each fall, following a Thursday vote from the Ohio House of Representatives.
The Ohio House voted 58-32 to pass Senate Concurring Resolution 8, also known as “The Sunshine Protection Act,” backing a permanent adoption of Daylight Saving Time. The resolution is nonbinding, since permanently adopting Daylight Saving Time would require an act of Congress. The Ohio Senate passed the same resolution in February.
State Rep. Scott Wiggam, a Wooster Republican, said on the House floor that he’d heard widespread support for the resolution from his constituents.
“I’ve had a lot of constituents from my district, at least 20, that have said they wish we could not have these time changes and save the daylight for our evening hours,” he said.
State Rep. Mary Lightbody, a Columbus Democrat, spoke against the resolution, saying setting clocks back in the fall means a safer morning walk for students, given the winter’s limited daylight hours.
She also questioned why legislators spent time debating the resolution during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have had fatalities here in Columbus with middle-school students hit when they’re walking along to school on roads that do not have sidewalks. Therefore, changing this resolution minimizing their opportunity to walk in daylight concerns me greatly,” she said.
State Sen. Kristina Roegner, the Hudson Republican who filed the resolution, previously introduced full legislation that would exempt Ohio entirely from Daylight Saving Time.
But that legislation, Senate Bill 119, has stalled. Roegner said in February that the “vast majority” of people she’d heard from would prefer being on permanent Daylight Saving Time rather than permanent Standard Time.
Daylight Saving Time, during which clocks are set ahead one hour from March until November, was initiated as an energy-saving measure in World War I and World War II. It took its current seasonal form in the mid-1970s, following the 1973 oil embargo. Backers of ending the time change say it disrupts people’s sleep schedules with harmful effects, citing research showing a corresponding drop in productivity and an increase in car crashes. They also question the energy-saving effects.
States can exempt themselves from Daylight Saving Time, as Hawaii and Arizona (except on Navajo tribal lands) have done, but federal law prohibits states from adhering to Daylight Savings Time the entire year.
Thirteen other states have passed legislation urging year-around Daylight Saving Time in the past three years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. States that have done so this year include Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming.