Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Keep the Trains On Time

The Daily Planet reports today that Senate Bill 60 passed out of the South Dakota Senate Commerce and Energy Committee yesterday. Senate Bill 60 would set Daylight Savings Time as the permanent year-round time for the State of South Dakota.

This proposed law has not been thought out and is ill advised if not bordering on stupid. Where are common sense and those people who say government is the problem not the solution on this one? Standard Time is one great example of where government actually works.

This is the explanation of Standard Time from Wikipedia: Standard time is the synchronization of clocks within a geographical area or region to a single time standard, rather than using solar time or a locally chosen meridian (longitude) to establish a local time mean time standard. Historically, the concept was established during the 19th century to aid weather forecasting and train travel. Applied globally in the 20th century, the geographical areas became extended around evenly spaced meridians into time zones which (usually) centered on them. The standard time set in each time zone has come to be defined in terms of offsets from Universal Time.

In 1966 a Federal Daylight Savings Time law was adopted across the United States. I don’t know if there was a time limit or not (someone can check me out) but I seem to recall that States either had to opt in or opt out. I believe that Indiana and Arizona in the Continental 48 States chose not to adopt federal daylight time. My recollection is the start and stop dates of daylight time were extended several yeas ago by federal law.

In large part Standard Time was adopted so that the trains could run on time and there would be uniformity for commerce. Local time was abolished during the mid to late 19th Century where local clocks were set at noon each day (the time when the sun was at it’s highest point). Thus each locale had their own time.

Changing time uniformity in South Dakota would cause disruption of economic and social order. Having time in South Dakota different from surrounding states would make life more difficult. I am referring specifically to eastern South Dakota but the same would be true in the West as well. During part of the year for example Sioux City, Fargo, Minneapolis and Omaha would have different times than North Sioux City or Sioux Falls, as would Denver or Cheyenne be different from Rapid City. Many people work in South Dakota who live nearby but out of state. They would be in different time zones. Schools would start at different times. How would national radio and television broadcast times be affected? What effect would it have on local tourism, for example where people are encouraged to attend events (speaking locally) at such venues at the new Sioux Falls Events Center, Sanford Pentagon, or Washington Pavilion?

There is an old adage thrown around a lot in politics – If its not broke don’t fix it. It is Not Broken.

Endbar – While writing this it looks like I am late to the party and common sense prevailed. It may? be moot as the full Senate killed the bill 17 Yea, 16Nay. (a majority of the members elect (18) being required). I am posting this anyway.

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