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Sun keeps setting on Missouri, Kansas lawmakers' efforts to end spring and fall time changes

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Kansas News Service
“Sometimes I think we ought to just settle on 30 minutes, just kind of cut the difference and be done with it,” says Rep. Shannon Francis, who is among the Kansas House members who have supported a resolution urging Congress to adopt permanent, year-round daylight saving time.

A Missouri representative wants to move to permanent standard time. A Kansas representative prefers permanent daylight saving time. Neither has much chance of success.

If two lawmakers from Missouri and Kansas had their way, metro-area residents would no longer lose an hour of sleep every spring.

“We need permanent standard time because our human clocks are set to the natural time,” said Missouri Rep. Wes Rogers, a Democrat from Kansas City.

His House Bill 1889 would eliminate daylight saving time in favor of permanent standard time. Rogers' preference for permanent standard time came only after he introduced a bill last legislative session in favor of daylight saving, but constituents pushed back, inspiring him to explore each option in more depth.

“I did my own research after that and realized I found the argument to abolish daylight savings time to be the more compelling argument,” Rogers said.

Proponents of permanent standard time cite the human body's internal clock aligning with the rise and fall of the sun as a sleep benefit and the safety of children who would not have to wait for school transportation in darker morning hours.

A Kansas lawmaker proposes the opposite solution.

“We’ve lived thousands of years without any standard time at all, so it's interesting how contentious it can be,” said Rep. Shannon Francis, a Republican from Liberal.

Francis is among the Kansas House members who have supported a resolution urging Congress to adopt permanent, year-round daylight saving time. Francis said his constituents prefer to have an extra hour of daylight in the evening. He said 60% of the 108 people who responded to an online survey he conducted preferred to have permanent daylight saving.

Francis said such a change would bring economic benefits.

“People would stay out shopping later because there was more daylight,” Francis said.

Others in favor of daylight saving point to studies that show a reduction in household energy consumption and less crime due to longer daylight.

Both representatives agreed people just want one set time all year long.

At Messenger Coffee on the Plaza, baristas Steve Biafore and Laura Harvey said that would be ideal.

“I wish we could just be done with daylight savings time,” Biafore said. “I’ve never really seen the point.”

“We should just all be like Arizona and not do it,” Harvey added.

But it could be some time before any laws are passed. Last year Rogers’ bill died in the Missouri Senate. Francis said he plans to introduce a bill during next year’s legislative session, though he wasn't optimistic.

“I don't know that I see it going anywhere in Kansas again, because I feel like we need a national solution,” Francis said. “Sometimes I think we ought to just settle on 30 minutes. Just kind of cut the difference and be done with it.”

Jacob Martin is a news intern at KCUR. Follow him on Twitter @jacob_noah or email him at Jacobmartin@kcur.org.
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