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Pressure mounts for daylight saving time reform

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(The Center Square) – As not only tradition but federal law, soon it will be time for Illinois residents to spring their clocks forward to take advantage of more daylight hours.

Daylight saving time officially returns at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 10, an annual ritual that for many is bittersweet. That’s because along with gaining sunlight daily, Illinoisans will lose an hour of sleep.

One of those calling for an end to this system, state Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, stressed the consequences of sleep loss especially for children and senior citizens.

“Any legislator with small children knows what it is like to have to move our clocks forward and hour and lose an hour of sleep and the damage it does to not just our sleep but to our children and how they’re feeling, their productivity, during the day,” Morgan told The Center Square.

He also described the twice-yearly clock ritual as something that hasn’t made sense for decades.

Consequently, Morgan is working to gather support for House Bill 1192, which would create a permanent daylight saving time, so no resetting the clock twice a year and no sleep withdrawal.

“We’ve received a lot of support from a variety of people, and it’s not a partisan issue,” Morgan said.

A federal change is needed to make daylight saving time permanent, but Morgan thinks that too is possible.

“I think once I get a critical mass, we’re going to be able to move forward as a state, make it clear to Congress that this is the position Illinois has taken. And we need to move very quickly to make these changes,” Morgan said.

What’s key is to make it clear to Congress, he said, that this arbitrary time-keeping system must go.

Among those who would benefit from reform, he predicted that small businesses would profit from the gift of more daylight.

“This would really help a lot of small businesses that would be able to stay open longer while it’s still sunlight outside,” he told The Center Square. “It would create a whole bunch of new revenue for a variety of small businesses throughout the state.”

As a sign of that bipartisan support, Morgan’s bill was introduced last January and picked up state Rep. Travis Weaver, R-Edwards, as a co-sponsor in November.