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ST. MARYS — If legislation introduced by a southwestern Ohio politicians is adopted, Ohioans may no longer have to switch their clocks ahead an hour.
State Rep. Courtney Combs, a Republican who represents the 54th House District, is the primary sponsor of House Bill 478, which would exempt the state of Ohio from participating in daylight savings time. John Adams, who represents the 78th House District, signed on as a cosponsor and said the legislation — introduced Tuesday — makes sense.
“I’ve talked to a lot of farmers and they really don’t seem to care much,” Adams said. “You think they would but they don’t seem to think it’s an issue.”
Adams said colleagues challenged the long-held notion that daylight savings time cuts back on energy consumption. He also questioned its roots and its merits today.
“The early proponents wanted extra sunlight so they could spend more time in the golf course,” Adams said. “The idea gained traction during World War I when it served a purpose to conserve coal for the military to use. As it’s gone on, there’s been the belief that it saves electricity when all studies that have been done prove it doesn’t save anything in terms of energy costs.”
Arizona — with the exception of the Navajo Nation — and Hawaii are the only states that do not adhere to daylight savings time. Until 2005, portions of Indiana did not follow daylight savings time. If Ohio withdraws from the practice, it would put it on a different time format than its neighbors.
“I don’t foresee any issues coming of this,” Adams said. “As we go the through committee process, all this stuff will be vetted out and if there is something that will be detrimental, it would be examined. I would imagine though something like this would pass.”
Adams also questioned the common sense of the measure.
“There doesn’t seem to be any logic to be switching time back and forth when you read the studies that have been done,” Adams said. “A lot of it has been based on energy policies and the studies have proven it doesn’t save any dollars when it comes to energy costs.”
Combs told The Evening Leader the daylight savings time issue has been on his radar for several years.
“I’ve had many people approach me saying what is the deal with this and can you do anything about it,” Combs said. “I started researching it to see what can be done about it and I found the states have the discretion to opt out. So then we started researching the pros and cons.”
Combs said farmers have told him the matter is moot. He also dismissed the notion daylight savings time conserves energy in today’s world.
“That may have been the case many years ago but we’re to a point now that it doesn’t really matter,” Combs said. “We also looked at the business end where some say you have to be on the same time as everyone else. I have a world map of time zones that I pulled up and all over the world there are different countries that use different times and the fact is that it is a conglomerate of time zones.”
Combs also noted he believes if Ohio opts out of daylight savings time, the rest of the region would as well.
“I believe if we make the point clear and determine it makes no sense to change clocks twice a year, we will be able to get Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan to come to the same conclusion,” Combs said. “It’s an interesting discussion and I understand both sides of the issue but I believe I will be able to show through testimony and prove what is going on.”