Other Opinion: An annoying possibility along Minnesota borders

The Minnesota Legislature is considering permanent daylight savings time.


Don’t forget to move clocks ahead on Sunday, March 8. Remember the old idiom: “Spring forward, fall back.”

But if some lawmakers in the Minnesota Legislature get their way, Minnesotans won’t be participating in the twice-a-year ritual in the near future.

Forum News Service reported earlier this week that members of the Minnesota Senate Committee on Local Government advanced a proposal to make Minnesota’s official – and forever unchanging – time zone “advanced standard time.” The move would put the state on permanent daylight saving time, if final approval is granted by the federal government.

State Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, is pushing the bill, citing the potential for reduced health issues. A proposal also is forming in the House, where Democrats are backing the idea.

It may seem far-fetched, but remember two things: First, that members of both major parties seem to favor the idea; and second, that it’s not unique, as Hawaii and most of Arizona haven’t changed their clocks back and forth since the 1960s. And like Minnesota, other states are pushing the idea legislatively – and quite often at that.


According to the Hill – a newspaper that covers the U.S. Capitol – upwards of three dozen states have considered the switch in recent years. It’s a rare bipartisan groundswell and, the Hill notes, one backed by research that predicts potential health, crime and economic benefits.

As reported by the Hill, Steve Callandrillo, a professor at the University of Washington, has done research that shows crime – the bulk of which is committed in the dark – would fall if the nation did away with daylight saving time.

There wouldn’t be those pesky few nights getting used to the changes, nor would there be those slightly burdensome clock adjustments twice a year, either.

Yet making this change would permanently add an hour of darkness into the morning, and that could be troubling for youngsters on their way to school.

Locally, we question the effect a change would have on commerce and life in border towns, such as Greater Grand Forks.

Many people who live in East Grand Forks cross the bridges each morning to work in Grand Forks, and vice versa. For half of the year, the times wouldn’t match; Minnesota time would be an hour later. That means when work starts at 8 in Grand Forks, a Minnesotan’s watch would read 9. That’s good for early birds, but could be inconvenient at the end of the day, since a shift in Grand Forks that ends at 5 is technically 6 in Minnesota. That means arriving home around 6:15 or later and sitting down for a late supper.

All of this assumes North Dakota wouldn’t make a corresponding change. Considering many states are starting to move in this direction, a change in North Dakota might not be a far-fetched possibility.

In the metro areas or middle-of-the-state towns, it might be a good idea. But on the borders, it seems the novelty would be short-lived as residents are forced to maneuver annoying time differences between states. Until other states make the change, it would be an inconvenience.

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