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No more time change? Let's get behind House Bill 350

031217daylightsaving
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Tom Liberatore, a materials purchasing manager, walks past clocks being tested prior to shipping at the Electric Time Company in Medfield, Mass., Thursday, March 10, 2016. Most Americans will lose an hour of sleep this weekend, but gain an hour of evening light for months ahead, as Daylight Saving Time returns this weekend. The time change officially starts Sunday at 2 a.m. local time. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Janet Storm.jpg
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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Regular readers of this column may recall that I have written about how difficult it is to be a dog owner when daylight saving time begins and ends.

My two little dogs have clocks in their heads (or perhaps, more accurately, their stomachs) that inform them when it is time to get up and when we ought to be heading to bed. No mere moving of a dial on a clock can convince them that their precious schedule should change. 

The result is several weeks of adjustment every year that try their patience and scramble my sleep pattern, as they stand on my rib cage and try to coax me out of bed an hour before I need to awaken — or look at me as though I’m crazy when I get up an hour before they’re used to crawling out of bed.

But hope is on the horizon, emerging from — of all places — the North Carolina General Assembly.

Last month, House Bill 350 was filed, a piece of legislation that would ask Congress to authorize North Carolina to stay on Daylight Saving Time all year long.

Since it was introduced, the bill has passed three readings in the House and moved on to the Senate, where it passed its first reading and was sent to the Committee on Rules and Operations.

I don’t make it a habit to rely on legislators to solve my problems, but I am not ashamed to admit that I am really hoping the crowd in Raleigh will come through for me on this one.

Bill sponsor Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, said that it's the most popular bill he's ever filed. 

Well of course it is. North Carolina is full of people with pets, and I can’t be the only one whose furry friends dictate the household schedule. 

Speaking with WRAL, Saine said the idea grew out of a discussion at legislative conference. Lawmakers from several states agreed to file similar bills this year, including South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, California and Washington. It was also introduced at the federal level by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Saine said researchers have documented "significant health effects due to the time changes," including higher rates of heart attacks, car accidents, workplace injuries and depression in the days and weeks after a clock change.

I don’t doubt this for a minute. Losing an hour of sleep can make anyone dozy enough to lose focus at work or while driving a car. Getting rabbit-kicked in the back by a grumpy little dog because you won’t get out of bed can trigger mental angst and having a hungry puppy wake you with a high-pitched howl in you ear can definitely get your heart racing.

There are, of course, other inconveniences tied to Daylight Saving Time. Several clocks in my home are hung high enough that I can reach them without standing on a chair. I suspect there have been more than a few clock-resetting injuries triggered by people falling off furniture.

And so, for the sake of health and safety, an on behalf of pet lovers everywhere, I send out this plea to the General Assembly: Pass House Bill 350. 

There’s no time like the present and I, for one, would like to keep it that way.

Contact Janet Storm at jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.

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