MADISON - Two Republican lawmakers want to make the sun set earlier in the summer.
Reps. Samantha Kerkman, of Salem, and Michael Schraa, of Oshkosh, introduced a bill Friday that would eliminate daylight saving time in Wisconsin. The move would mean state residents would no longer have to move their clocks ahead an hour in the spring or back an hour in the fall as the country shifts back to standard time. That would mean the summer sun would appear to rise and set earlier.
Kerkman and Schraa said in a news release that the change would save people the hour of sleep they lose in the spring. The time change also causes general confusion and forces kids to go to school in the dark, they added. Kerkman said in a phone interview that a number of constituents have contacted her to tell her the time change is frustrating.
“People definitely have an opinion about this,” Kerkman said. “I wish I could create more sunshine, but I can’t.”
Arizona and Hawaii don’t observe daylight saving time. Kerkman and Schraa said in a memo they sent to colleagues Friday seeking co-sponsors that eight states introduced similar legislation that would do away with daylight saving time this year.
“We often see stress and confusion associated with moving the clocks twice a year,” the legislators wrote. “A full repeal of daylight saving time would eliminate that stress, take possible tolls off of people’s bodies and make more sense year round.”
Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and ends at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November. Wisconsin residents adopted it in 1957 through a statewide referendum.
Kerkman and Schraa gave their fellow lawmakers until Feb. 24 to sign onto the bill. Kit Beyer, a spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, didn’t immediately respond to an email inquiring about the bill’s chances. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s spokeswoman, Myranda Tanck, said Fitzgerald had just received the co-sponsorship memo and was reviewing the legislation.
Tom Evenson, a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker, said the governor would review the legislation if it reaches his desk.
Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, a La Crosse Democrat, scoffed at the bill. She said Republicans should focus on the state’s crumbling roads and student loan debt.
“I can count the number of people in my district who’ve contacted me about this issue on one hand,” Shilling said. “I think we have more pressing issues to address than tinkering with people’s alarm clocks. I don’t want the Legislature to get sidetracked with these JV proposals until we address the varsity-level issues first.”