ST. LOUIS – It’s almost that time of year again to set the clocks back as Daylight Saving Time nears its end in 2022.
As the local time reaches 2 a.m. Sunday, Missouri’s and Illinois’ clocks will officially move back one hour.
The Uniform Time Act of 1966, approved by U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, created Daylight Saving Time to begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. The annual observance has been modified to begin in early March and end in early November in recent years, though not all states recognize the annual time changes.
Its impact is a hot-button topic every year, so much so that some lawmakers have introduced bills in Missouri and Illinois in an effort for a more uniform time system over the course of a year. In both cases, the legislation has not advanced past both the state House and Senate chambers.
Missouri’s most recent effort came in 2021 as HB 848 on behalf of Missouri State Rep. Chris Sander (R – District 33). The legislation, introduced as the “New Standard Time Pact,” called for Missouri to exempt the whole state from Daylight Saving Time if at least three neighboring states also passed legislation to do so. The Missouri House approved the bill in April 2021 before it stalled in the Senate.
Illinois State Reps. Tim Butler (R – 87th District) and Jonathan Carroll (D – 57th District) co-sponsored HB2609 last year with the vision to “Amend the Time Standardization Act.” Like Missouri, the legislation aimed to exempt the whole state from Daylight Saving Time switches. The bill stalled in a House committee in March 2021 and has not been reviewed in a legislative session since then, despite picking up a third co-sponsor.
One obstacle Missouri and Illinois might face if such legislation gains further traction would be that, regardless of state resolutions, both would need to comply with federal law. States that didn’t previously make a change around a Congressional Amendment in 1972 need approval from U.S. Congress to otherwise move ahead with the change.
At a federal level, it appears there could be some support for a uniform time system. In March, the U.S. Senate approved a bill to permanently use Daylight Saving Time year-round by 2024. The bill has not been approved by the U.S. House, one stepping stone needed to head to President Biden’s desk for consideration.
Dr. Joe Ojile from the Clayton Sleep Institute addressed the topic in a one-on-one interview Wednesday with FOX 2. He says switching to a more uniform time, rather than moving the clocks back and forth twice a year, could improve the health and sleep habits of many.
“People can get a little out of sync. People play it a little bit. They play a game where they say, ‘Well, I got an extra hour of sleep, I’ll just stay up,” said Dr. Ojile. “That actually is a double-whammy. It gets us out of our good sleep habits. It causes us to increase our sleep debt, and it doesn’t allow us to get good light in the morning. So we still want to stay on our game this weekend. It leads to some bigger topics about whether we should be doing this switch or not.”
Dr. Ojile is uncertain if or when practices around Daylight Saving Time might be changed but supports some diversion from the current system.
“It’s time,” said Dr. Ojile. “At this point, it would appear that’s not going to happen anytime soon, but let’s hope for it.”