Kentuckians woke up Sunday morning to the twice-yearly ritual of changing their clocks and readjusting to the changing of time - "falling back," as the saying goes - with the resumption of standard time.

But if a group of lawmakers have their way, Kentucky will become one of a growing number of states that remain on Daylight Saving time year-round, choosing to stay on "summer time" instead of switching back and forth.

A bill to that effect, House Bill 181, was pre-filed in Frankfort ahead of the 2020 General Assembly's Regular Session.

It has gained bipartisan support, as two of the bill's 18 current sponsors are Democrats.

Likewise, it has equal support from legislators in the Eastern and Central time zones.

Several states have introduced similar legislation. Florida already passed its version, called the "Sunshine Protection Act." As of August of this year, more than 35 other states have proposed going to year-round daylight saving time.

Florida's law cannot go into effect until federal law has been amended. Currently, U.S. law allows for states to opt-out of changing from standard time, but does not allow for states to use daylight saving time permanently.

The motion to do so has the backing of President Donald Trump, who tweeted earlier this year that making daylight saving permanent was "OK with me!"

One of the Kentucky bill's sponsors, Representative Robert Goforth of the 89th district, called the switching of time in the spring and fall an "antiquated practice that needs to end."

He also cited studies that show there are safety aspects to consider.

"Statistics show that shifting time twice a year can cause an increased risk of stroke and heart attack, as well as affecting adults 65 or older more drastically. It causes more auto accidents and lessens worker productivity."

And it is true that some studies have shown an increase in heart-related problems during the switch to Daylight Savings in the spring.

One study published in the BMJ Journal states, "After adjustments for trend and seasonal effects, the Monday following spring time changes was associated with a 24 percent increase in daily AMI (acute myocardial infarction) counts, and the Tuesday following fall changes was conversely associated with a 21 percent reduction. No other weekdays in the weeks following DST changes demonstrated significant associations."

Their conclusion was that the week following the seasonal time change might impact AMI cases, but did not influence the overall number of incidences.

Another study from Cornell University on hospitals in Germany did not find "evidence that population health significantly decreases when clocks are set forth by one hour in spring. However, when clocks are set back by one hour in fall, effectively extending sleep duration for the sleep deprived by one hour, population health slightly improves for about four days."

Why, then, do legislators want to lock in the time for daylight saving and not standard time?

Goforth explains: "A 2015 study in the Review of Economics and Statistics found there was an average of 7 percent less crime overall following the shift to daylight savings time, with a 27 percent drop during the evening hour of gained sunlight."

That same shift, however, may be the cause of a temporary uptick in vehicle accidents in the days after the change to daylight saving, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine which blames the sleep-deprived drivers who have lost an hour of sleep during the spring-forward transition. This can be another argument in favor of keeping a year-round time, whichever that may be.

The Somerset Police Department's public information officer, Captain Mike Correll, was asked whether the department would have an opinion on the legislation. Correll's response, after looking into the information, was that he would need to do more in-depth research on the subject and that, for now, the department would remain neutral.

Likewise, Superintendent Patrick Richardson of the Pulaski County School District said he had no opinion at this time.

One argument for the switch from standard to daylight saving time was to give everyone an extra hour of daylight in the evening, but it is at the cost of having school buses running longer in the dark in the mornings.

Richardson points out that for large districts, like Pulaski's, it is impossible to start pickups after dawn.

"Our first student pickups start around 5:50 a.m., so no matter what time we are on, some students are always going to be picked up before daylight. During this time of year (daylight saving time), it is staying darker until around 7 a.m. or a little later. When the clock falls back, we will not be picking up as many students in the dark."

Goforth said he has had "very positive comments from constituents in my district and around the Commonwealth," on the proposed bill.

"I have not had anyone tell me they're opposed to the legislation."

Another of the bill's sponsors, Tommy Turner of the 85th district, echoed that.

"I have heard from a lot of my constituents they are in favor of it. I have not had anyone opposed to it," Turner said.

"I think it has a good chance at passing."

Recommended for you