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Councilman Rowdy Gaudet speaks during the first meeting of the metropolitan council of the year, Saturday, January 2, 2021, at City Hall in Baton Rouge, La.

One East Baton Rouge Parish councilman hopes the city-parish will join in a growing movement to keep daylight saving time year round. 

"People smile and smirk every time the topic of daylight saving time comes up," said Councilman Rowdy Gaudet. "It harkens back to day the after when the body hasn't adjusted to the time difference and takes a few days to do so."

Gaudet will ask the Metro Council on April 14 to adopt his resolution urging the state's congressional delegation and other lawmakers throughout the capitol region to support the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, which would do away with what he calls an antiquated practice. 

Louisiana is one of 15 states that in recent years passed resolutions asking Congress' permission to make daylight savings time permanent. Multiple efforts in the past fizzled out, a growing list of states and cities support the change.

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Daylight savings time, observed this year from March 14 until Nov. 7, began in the U.S. in the early 1900s as way to conserve energy. Because the sun sets an hour later during the federally-mandated time period, supporters argued households use less electricity, and people are more active since they tend to stay outside longer. 

Other benefits cited by experts over the years: during daylight saving time there are fewer traffic injuries because folks aren't driving around at night and they say it reduces crime, which normally occurs at night instead of during the day. 

Instead of giving all that up when the country shifts to standard time in the fall and winter months, lawmakers are pushing to keep the longer days of summer year round. 

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Every state in the U.S. expect Hawaii and Arizona participates in daylight saving time. Those states stay in standard time year round. 

For states to stay in daylight saving time year-round, though, would take a literal act of Congress.

On June 9 Gov. John Bel Edwards signed legislation from state Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, to adopt daylight savings time in Louisiana as the standard time, though it doesn't take effect unless Congress acts. 

Joining Louisiana this year with similar legislation were Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. Between 2018-19, Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Florida did the same. California voters in 2019 approved keeping daylights savings time permanently, but action at the state level is still pending. 

The Metro Council's proposed resolution is mostly symbolic, since the state Legislature has already adopted Horton's bill. But it adds to the voices asking for the change that is needed at the federal level. 

"What better time to do this than now when there is such a focus on improving health and the economy because of (the pandemic)," Gaudet said. "Data shows changing clocks twice a year negatively impacts the economy and causes things like seasonal depression."

"Let's eliminate what I think everyone agrees is an antiquated process," he added. 


Email Terry Jones at tjones@theadvocate.com