The Arizona Daily Star

Published: 05.19.2005

Arizona does not need daylight-saving time
The Star's View: Indiana narrowly decided to start saving daylight in the summer months, but Arizona should continue to hold out.
 
After 24 attempts, Indiana finally adopted daylight-saving time statewide. We find this a bit sad. A good 77 of the Hoosier state's 92 counties remained on standard time year-round. The rest were banking daylight.
 
Now that Indiana has been dragged kicking and screaming into sync with the rest of the nation, Arizona remains a lone holdout among the contiguous 48 states. Hawaii stays on standard time, but it would really be out of kilter adding daylight when it is so far west.
 
In any event, Arizona should not be moved to join the other states. They are but lemmings. Standard time has served the state well, thank you very much, and will continue to do so. Any move to the contrary would rouse testy sleeping dogs.
 
The state dutifully adopted daylight-saving time during both world wars. In 1966, under pressure from the transportation industry, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act. Industry was unhappy with the variances in time across the nation.
 
So DST was observed in Arizona. Farmers didn't like it, because daylight-saving time doesn't save time at all. It shifts daylight to the evening. Mothers of small children didn't like it because their kids wouldn't go to bed while it was still light outside. Owners of drive-in movies stood foursquare against DST because movies couldn't start until after 9:30 p.m.
 
In the debates over DST, Floyd Hawkins of the Arizona Farm Bureau told lawmakers in January 1967: "Daylight-saving time does not fit Arizona or agriculture."
 
The opposition to DST was effective, which led Stan Turley, then speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, to declare in August 1967: "I would say that throwing out daylight-saving time will be the first order of business during the next regular session," which would begin the following January.
 
As a result, the Legislature took up the cause of farmers and tired moms. It passed the first exemption to the federal law. That held true until 1973 when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to hold up the rest of the world hostage and boosted the price of oil.
 
That created a shortage, and Congress sought to conserve energy by imposing DST on the nation. The Star editorialized in November 1973: "Arizona is one of the few states in the union where DST has become a serious political issue, with the tourism industry and outdoor theaters posing some stiff opposition."
 
But the persuasive argument was made by then-Gov. Jack Williams. He told Congress that in Arizona, DST would not save energy.
 
In fact, argued Williams, it would lead to higher energy use in the evening, whereas refrigeration units were used less in the morning on standard time. He said energy use would also increase "because there would be more lights on in the early morning." Moreover, he added, "We do not want children to go to school in the dark."
 
Those complaints came in September and October, just before the state was to return to standard time. Children were indeed going to school in darkness. Thus the state won another exemption to the mandate for DST, which it dropped in 1975.
 
Ben Franklin had a good idea way back in 1784 when he was minister to France. He thought resetting clocks to allow for an extra hour of daylight would allow French shop owners to save a lot of money on candles.
 
Arizona doesn't need to conserve candles. The issue of moving to DST has come up from time to time. But it has never been seriously considered. Nor should it be. This is one case where the state has done very well marching to a different beat.
 
-S.A.