Nov 4, 2022 - Politics

Minnesota lawmaker looks to "roll back" clock changes

Illustration of a rooster, with a word balloon coming out of its mouth with swearing-substitute symbols in it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A push to end the twice-a-year clock changes is expected to get another look by the Minnesota Legislature next year.

The big picture: Minnesota is one of at least 19 states that has already passed a trigger bill to permanently switch to daylight saving time if Congress approves the change.

  • The U.S. Senate approved the change earlier this year, but the fate of the measure in the U.S. House remains uncertain.

Yes, but: States can convert to permanent standard time, aka what we "fall back" to this Sunday, without congressional approval.

  • State Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) told Axios he plans to revive legislation next session to do just that, perhaps as soon as 2024.

What it would mean: Winter would feel the same, but the sun would rise — and set — an hour earlier in the summer.

  • Here in Minnesota, rays would first hit around 4:30am around the summer solstice, and a sunset would be closer to 8pm.

What he's saying: Freiberg acknowledged that many people prefer the opposite approach of switching to daylight saving time because that would lead to more hours of sunlight in the winter months. But he said sticking with standard year-round could also sync better with our natural circadian rhythms.

  • "Personally, I just want to get rid of the clock changes," Freiberg said of his multi-year mission. "I don't really care which we go to."

Zoom out: Critics of the clock shifts, including some health groups, say biannual time changes contribute to sleep deprivation and other health issues.

  • But a short-lived switch to all-DST in the 1970s was abandoned after complaints that it was too dark when kids were going to school.

Flashback: In a spending bill last spring the state Senate included language moving the state to permanent standard time by 2030 if Congress doesn't act.

  • A bigger impasse over spending the surplus derailed the package in the House.

The intrigue: The issue's champion in the state Senate, Republican Mary Kiffmeyer, is retiring this year. Freiberg said he's confident he can find a co-author for his effort.

The bottom line: "Whatever you do is going to annoy somebody," Freiberg said. "Whether it's the morning people or the night people or whatever, but I think most people definitely do want to get rid of the clock change."

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