Manar hopeful Daylight Saving Time bill gets a vote next week

Manar hopeful Daylight Saving Time bill gets a

By: JORDAN GRUCZA

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

Last May, five Carlinville High School students saw their civics project turn into a state-wide debate. Travis Osborn, Tucker Green, Tristen Burns, Tyler Behme, and Andrew DeNeve were tasked with coming up with a proposal for a civics action plan meant to trigger a change in local government policy.

Civics teacher Logan Ridenour stated that he had never seen an action plan taken to this level of government before. The  students’ project, a proposal to make Daylight Savings Time permanent in Illinois, turned into a Senate bill, with State Senator Andy Manar joining the bill as a sponsor May 1.

On May 23, the bill passed the Senate committee.

“We have a veto session coming up again next week,” Manar said. “I hope to call it for a vote at that time. The most moving point, I think is that this is a completely arbitrary decision by the government. That compels the question: just because it’s been this way, does that really mean it has to continue?”

The purpose of Daylight Saving Time can lead to many different answers. According to an a recent article from the Chicago Tribune, those answers can range from Benjamin Franklin proposing it to diminish the cost of light by “saving a considerable number of candles,” to attempts at streamlining railroad schedules to saving energy after the 1973 oil embargo.

Whatever the reason for the decision, the Carlinville students stressed to Manar, and later to the Senate committee, the toll that it takes on people.

“Before you can change anything in public policy, you have to prove that change is necessary,” Manar said. “I asked them what evidence they have that this should change. Their answers were compelling. For example, lost productivity, or any number of health concerns that are happening right now to people.

“It needs to be a compelling case because it’s hard to change the law,” Manar said. “It should be hard to change. In this case, what ultimately will be required is a national change, but several states are taking the issue up and the issue is not going to go away any time soon. We’re going down a path where Congress will have to make a decision about the arbitrary nature of the time change.”

Manar stated that he doesn’t expect much in the way of resistance so much as meeting basic questions about the nature of the issue, as there isn’t a strong voice for or against daylight savings at this time.

“In the morning, my children get up for school around 6:45 a.m. every day,” Manar said. “I’m usually the one to wake them up. This morning they were up on their own and couldn’t quite understand how that happened.

“So imagine that playing itself out in the daily routine of a classroom,” Manar said. “Imagine what a teacher has to deal with this week or how parents’ schedules change with their work or how time interacts will all that.

“You have adults whose medical conditions are impacted by time and by the execution of time in their daily routine,” Manar said. “That is a proven fact, and it was one of the most compelling things that the students brought forward to me. The arbitrary nature of the time change has an impact on the health of individuals whether they’re healthy or whether they face a chronic illness. Is it worth that health risk?

“This is what I hope the debate is about in the Senate next week,” Manar said. “The arbitrary nature of the time change, why things are the way they are today, and does it deserve to be changed? I think the answer is yes, it does.”

The Senate committee will be reconvening for a veto session Tuesday, Nov. 12.