Abandon Daylight Time? A Bad Idea

Spring ahead. Fall back.

That’s been the mantra of most Americans for a long time, as we go through the semiannual routine of setting our clocks ahead in the spring, losing an hour of sleep, and getting it back again in the fall, when we set our clocks back.

I remember going on daylight saving time in my home state of Minnesota in the mid-1950s. For a bit of trivia, I went to a late Sunday afternoon movie matinee, watching Marilyn Monroe in the movie, Bus Stop. The movie came out in 1956, so that must have been the year Minnesota adopted daylight time.

I remember leaving the theater in early evening and being amazed at how bright it was outside. It was the first day of daylight time and having an extra hour of daylight in the evening was a reward well worth losing an hour of sleep the night before.

Over these last 60 years I’ve heard all the grumbles and complaints. As a farm kid, I certainly heard the usual complaints about cows and harvests. As a parent I heard the complaints about putting kids to beds when the sun is still up.

I still like daylight time, doggone it.

For those of us who like outdoor recreation, daylight time fits like a glove. I love those long summer evenings. It gives anglers the chance to go out after work and have time to have a picnic with their families and still have time to fish for a couple hours before dark. We can shoot trap in an evening league. We have the opportunity to play tennis, get in a round of golf, mow the lawn or any of a thousand things that are a routine part of sunny evenings.

Those evenings are in danger, however, if a bill in the Montana Legislature, SB206, should become law. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Ryan Osmundson (R-Buffalo) would exempt Montana from daylight time. If we were to abandon daylight time, it would make a mess of interstate travel, and figuring out plane connections. It’ll also screw up your TV schedules. There are all sorts of problems and virtually no benefits from abandoning daylight time.

Believe it or not, the bill passed the state senate, so it goes to the House of Representatives. Incidentally, our local senators split, with Jon Sesso voting against it, and Edie McClafferty voting for it.

So, if you like long, summer evenings, I urge you to contact your representatives in the legislature and urge them to vote no on this misguided piece of legislation.

On a different topic, our former congressman, Ryan Zinke, made a media splash when he reported for his first day as Secretary of Interior, wearing a western hat and riding to work on a horse. I made a comment on Facebook, noting that we had a ready-made caption to use the first time he made an anti-environment decision.

It didn’t take long.

On his first day on the job he canceled a previous Interior decree banning the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on national wildlife refuges. The previous order, issued by the Fish & Wildlife Service, came out in the last few days of the Obama Administration.

This was, in short, a bone thrown to the gun lobby. The National Rifle Association praised Zinke’s action, with an NRA spokesman calling the previous order “a reckless, unilateral overreach that would have devastated the sportsmen’s community.”

As Joe Biden would say, Malarkey! We’ve been using non-toxic shot for waterfowl hunting for 30 years. Many hunters voluntarily choose to use non-toxic bullets for big game hunting, as lead fragments in gut piles are a frequent cause of death for eagles, condors, and other birds that feed on carrion. Some states will still have non-toxic bullet rules in effect in specified areas. There are also plenty of substitutes for angling use, where we’ve used lead in the past. In short, it was no big deal.

It was not an auspicious start for Secretary Zinke.

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