HARTFORD, CT — Lack of sleep and the associated health issues are just two of the reasons Rep. Kurt Vail is still pushing for legislation that would have Connecticut stay on daylight savings time.
The Republican from Stafford Springs can’t personally introduce legislation this session, but he said the General Administrations and Elections Committee has agreed to draft a bill and hold a public hearing on the issue.
The bill, as of Monday, had yet to be drafted and published, but, according to Vail, it will be similar to his legislation last year.
Vail proposed staying on daylight savings time throughout the year and moving to the Atlantic Time Zone. Last year’s bill got a public hearing, but it was never voted out of committee.
However, there seems to be support for the measure.
Vail said he’s also spoken to farmers in his district and businesses and says both believe it would be beneficial to have the additional hour of daylight in the afternoon.
“They get more production in the afternoon sunlight than the morning sunlight,” Vail said of the businesses.
There are often two objections to the idea. The first complaint is that schoolchildren would be waiting for the bus in the dark. That’s because the extra hour of daylight would come at the end, instead of the beginning of the day.
In Massachusetts, the Special Commission on the Commonwealth’s Time Zone that studied the issue suggested that the impact could be mitigated “by delaying school start times, which is a cost-effective way to alleviate safety concerns as well as improve students’ physical and mental health, attendance and graduation rates, tardiness and dropout rates, and grades and standardized test scores.”
The second complaint is that other surrounding states would be on a different schedule.
Vail said he believes they will be able to resolve the latter as they gain momentum and work with other New England states to adopt year-round daylight savings time.
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine have been mulling over the idea for the past few years.
Vail, who was skeptical at first, said the science is there to back up his argument. He said there’s an increase in both heart attacks and motor vehicle accidents the week after the clock changes in both March and November.
A 2014 study in the journal Open Heart found an increase in heart attacks on the Monday following the switch to daylight savings time in the Spring.
A 2001 study in the Sleep Journal found an increase in motor vehicle accidents on the Monday following the Spring shift and the Sunday night before the fall shift.
Florida’s House and Senate recently sent a bill to Gov. Rick Scott asking Congress to allow the state to observe daylight saving time year-round — not just the eight months that is standard in the United States.
Daylight savings time was introduced in the United State during World War I and then abandoned until 1966 when Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which established daylight savings time from the last Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October. The dates have been amended several times since 1966.
The current dates for “springing forward” and “falling back” are the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November, respectively. Those dates have been in place since 2007.