“Time’s Tug-of-War: Arkansas Struggles with Daylight Savings”

Will Arkansas Stay in Daylight Savings Time For Good This Year?

Brace yourselves, Arkansans, for the impending loss of an hour’s sleep as the clocks spring forward on March 10, heralding the advent of daylight saving time.

While daylight savings gifts us with later sunsets, it also defers dawn’s embrace.

Arkansas joins 48 states in the biannual clock dance, with only Arizona and Hawaii standing aloof, their clocks unaltered year-round.

Despite efforts by Arkansas lawmakers to join this select few, their endeavors have foundered.

Did your county exist when Arkansas became a state?

Here’s a glimpse into recent endeavors:

State Representative Sarah Capp (R-Ozark) proposed House Bill 1368 in February 2019, advocating for year-round standard time, and the abolishment of daylight saving time in Arkansas. However, Capp withdrew the bill 23 days post its introduction.

In 2020, Rep. Johnny Rye (R-Trumann) countered Capp’s stance with House Bill 1017. This bill championed year-round daylight saving time, bidding adieu to standard time. The bill cleared the House in February 2021 with a 71-24 vote but met its demise in a Senate committee meeting that October.

Rye made a subsequent attempt in 2022 with House Bill 1039, promoting the adoption of daylight saving time. However, he withdrew the bill a month later.

A fourth endeavor unfolded in 2023, as Rep. Stephen Meeks (R-Greenbrier) proposed House Bill 1568, advocating for the abolition of daylight saving time in favor of year-round standard time. The bill was withdrawn three weeks later.

Another 2023 initiative was spearheaded by Rep. R. Scott Richardson (R-Bentonville), co-sponsored by Rep. Wayne Long (R-Bradford), through House Bill 1104. Sadly, it met the same fate, withdrawn two weeks after filing.

Is standard time preferable to daylight savings, or vice versa?

Opinions diverge.

“The optimal choice would be permanent standard time throughout the year,” remarked Dr. Beth Malow, Director of Vanderbilt University’s Sleep Division, in an interview with Nexstar’s WKRN in 2022. “Morning light is crucial to our vitality. Excessive evening light, typical of permanent Daylight Saving Time, can disrupt sleep patterns, essential for our well-being.”

A 2022 CBS News poll reflected a preference for daylight saving time over standard time, albeit not decisively. 46% favored year-round daylight saving time, while 33% advocated the opposite. 21% were content with the status quo of biannual clock adjustments.

Proponents of daylight saving time cited improved mood, heightened productivity later in the day, and energy conservation.

Opponents argued for adherence to human biological rhythms, claiming better sleep and early-day productivity.

Regardless of preferences, Arkansans must reconcile with biannual clock adjustments for the foreseeable future.

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