Tillis takes on time

Friday, January 26, 2018

If you ask around in Lewisburg for someone who knows how to repair a clock, Rick Tillis is the first name that comes up.

It seems appropriate, then, that Tillis submitted a bill in this session of the General Assembly that would change the way Tennessee keeps time.

Tillis wants the state to adopt daylight saving time year-round, instead of switching between standard time and daylight saving time in the spring and fall.

Tillis polled his constituents through Facebook and Twitter back in December before the legislative session began this month to see what they thought of staying on “summer time” all year, after a constituent on social media asked him to consider the notion.

The results, he said, were overwhelmingly in favor of the idea, with about 90 percent of respondents in each poll supporting the idea.

Gaining an extra hour of daylight in the winter appeals to many. Middle Tennessee is close to the change from Eastern Time to Central Time, meaning that darkness falls early in the winter.

Tillis submitted the bill, HR 1518, at the start of the session, later withdrawing it after seeing that it had been written based on an older bill that instead called for the state to remain on standard time year round.

He intends to resubmit the bill with the correct wording.

A substantial portion of Tennessee falling in the Eastern Time Zone complicates the issue, as well as bordering so many other states who may, or may not, also consider a time change.

Tillis has spoken with lawmakers in several bordering states to gauge their interest in similar legislation.

A similar bill has already been filed in the Mississippi legislature for this term.

Daylight savings was first implemented in 1918 as an energy saving measure, the additional hour of sunlight delaying the need for artificial lighting.

Tillis said that the justification for the change was now outdated.

States can opt out of the time change. Arizona remains on standard time year-round. Residents there don’t want an additional hour of desert heat during the summer months.