DES MOINES — There is a bipartisan move afoot in the Legislature to go lights-out on daylight saving time in Iowa.
Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Cedar Falls, has filed legislation, Senate File 168, seeking to establish Central Standard Time as Iowa’s official 24-hour daily measurement. House Republicans expect their bill to surface Wednesday as well to put the kibosh on making the time switch later this year to move clocks ahead by one hour on March 12 and move them back one hour on Nov. 5.
“I think it’s a good idea, but I’m open,” said Rep. Jarad Klein, R-Keota, one of several House Republicans who favor doing away with the switch to daylight saving time.
“If somebody comes back with a solid reason not to,” he said, he would consider the argument, “but nobody’s come up with it yet.”
Klein said he got interested in the bill based on a request from a constituent.
“I said, 'I’ll pick the ball up, and I’ll run with it for you,' and we did,” Klein said Tuesday. “This has gotten a lot more people interested than I ever thought would. Nobody’s contacted me to say they don’t like this.”
Because the bills are just surfacing, no lobbyists have had time to declare support or opposition, but Danielson said he expects there likely will be critics who enjoy the extra evening time during summer months for outdoor activities and other benefits for retailing, sports and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours.
“There are both pluses and minuses of daylight saving time, but I think the minuses may outweigh the pluses right now,” he said.
“There will be people who are opposed to it,” Danielson said, “but I don’t know, there may be a sliver of daylight in this idea. I think there are some Iowans who want to be heard about this. Whether or not we can get it changed is another matter.”
Danielson said there are health aspects associated with switching times twice each year, and Klein said he has heard from parents who don’t like the effect the time changes have on setting schedules for their kids.
“I can remember in high school wrestling, as soon as daylight saving time hit, you were walking home in the dark,” Danielson said. “It gets darker much quicker in the wintertime. We know exposure to sunlight and daylight affects people’s mood.”
As a farmer, Klein said he doesn’t start and end his day with the clock. Daylight saving time gained wider acceptance as a way to deal with past problems such as the energy crisis, but Klein said advances in lighting technology have made the advantages of saving daylight less of a factor.
If the switch to year-round Central Standard Time becomes law, Iowa would join Arizona, Hawaii and parts of Indiana in shunning the switch to daylight saving time.
“I want to have the conversation,” Klein said. “If something happens with it, great; if nothing happens with it, we’ve had the conversation, and we can continue on that going forward.”