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Bill proposes keeping extra hour of evening sunlight year-round

Delaware Public Media

Delaware is joining a growing number of states that could dump the shift between Standard and Daylight Saving Time.

Senate President Pro Tem David McBride wants the First State to jettison the annual falling back and springing forward. His bill would put the state on Daylight Saving Time year-round.

But Delaware couldn’t act until its neighbors also approved similar changes. The legislation would require Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland to pass measures placing them in the Atlantic Standard time zone. Then Delaware’s governor could ask the U.S. Transportation Secretary to also move the First State into that time zone.

McBride said the idea is a nonstarter unless neighboring states are interested in making this move with Delaware.

“I mean we’re such a small state," he said. "Pennsylvania, New Jersey borders are like you know 10 miles away. And obviously that would be bedlam if we had a different time zone.”

McBride said people wrongly believe Daylight Saving Time is connected to farming.

“Germany started observing Daylight Saving Time in 1916," he said. "So Britain went along with that and because Britain went along with that in the first World War, the United States observed Daylight Saving Time.”

Tufts University professor Michael Downing said in a 2013 National Geographic article that farmers have opposed daylight saving time for decades.

He adds some dairy farmers still oppose it, arguing cows have trouble adjusting to new milking schedules.

A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation to remove the state from Daylight Saving Time. Maryland and New Jersey don’t seem to be considering related legislation.

McBride cites studies that show the risk of heart attack increases on the first two days after springing ahead.

Some research also suggests staying on Daylight Saving Time year-round would reduce traffic fatalities.

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