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How the daylight saving time bill will affect business

(EDITORIAL) Protecting the sun…and economy? Senators promise abolishing time change through this bill will boost business, but will it really?

Time for change with new daylight savings bill.

In an ever-evolving and changing world upended by a global health crisis, switching our clocks back and forth twice a year is the last thing most people want to do as it throws a wrench in…well, everything, but relief may be on the way. U.S. Senators unanimously approved a bill to make daylight saving time permanent across the country Tuesday, March 15. It’s a change some say — although, probably overstated — could benefit businesses.

Even with the Senate’s approval the bill, named the Sunshine Protection Act, still needs to pass the House and get President Joe Biden’s signature. However, many Americans are holding on to the promise they will not need to change their clocks twice a year.

Obviously, this isn’t a novel idea; Arizona and Hawaii have not observed the time clock changes for many years. Plus, a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 70% of Americans want a change. Four in ten want standard time, three in ten want daylight saving time.

Lawmakers backing the bill have promoted a series of economic advantages. Firstly, abolishing the time change would reduce energy usage, the U.S. Department of Energy said during the four weeks DST was extended in 2005, there were small but noticeable savings on electricity. About .5% less electricity was used per day.

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It’s also slated to help the agriculture industry. Now, you might be thinking “but farmers wanted DST, right?” No — let’s have a history lesson.

The often wrong relationship between time changes and agriculture explained:

  • DST was introduced to save electricity during WWI in 1918.
  • Farmers lobbied hard against it.
  • A year later, in 1919 if you’re keeping up, farmers tried to get the law repealed.
  • Lawmakers shut them down.
  • We still change our clocks.
  • We’ve all been blaming farmers ever since.

With that history lesson out of the way, changing the clocks can cause real harm to those who put food on our tables. Without the early morning sunlight (during the DST part of time change) most working on ranches are left in the dark, livestock — particularly cattle and chickens — do not adjust well to schedule changes and it causes supply chain disruptions between farmers and their economic partners.

Changing clocks also leads to a downtick in performance, concentration, and memory which can lead to a loss of productivity for your business as many are fighting to stay awake. That increased sleepiness has also been shown to lead to an increase in workplace accidents, something you as a business owner never want to face. However, if the Sunshine Protection Act becomes law, it can only be assumed accidents may go down and productivity will stay relatively consistent.

As I mentioned, not everyone is in favor of keeping DST permanent including some big businesses. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, the switch would negatively affect convenience stores. NACS Senior Vice President of Government Relations Lyle Beckwith testified before Congress in early March to keep the status quo, he added the convenience industry sees an increase in sales after the switch to DST as we all, collectively, reach for that extra cup of coffee.

Business aside, the change could majorly benefit public health by reducing car crashes, heart attacks, and strokes – all welcome news after years under constant health and fiscal pressure brought on by the COVID pandemic.

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With nearly a decade of writing experience Dewey can’t stay away from the addictive quality of words, an addiction that rivals his constant need to share his opinion (he’s a Gemini). When he’s not working, writing or doom scrolling Twitter, you can find him on one of Austin’s many beautiful hiking trails or tucked away in a dimly-lit speakeasy. Oh, yeah, and he hates the Oxford comma.

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