Is Kansas ready to stop the time change cycle?

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

It's been a couple weeks since we set our clocks back an hour.  If you're still feeling the effects of the time change, you're not alone.  That has a growing number of Kansans saying it's time to end the twice a year time shuffle.  The state legislature now has two bills to consider doing precisely that.

The science detailing the problems associated with time changes is increasing.  But the big question is, if Kansas does stop changing the clocks, when should we do it?

"I really don't mind.  I mean, you either lose an hour or you gain an hour," said Lisa Perry.

But, like many Kansans, Perry would rather pick a time and stick with than have to go through time changes twice a year.

"I would rather have it permanent," she said.

Kansans aren't alone.  A recent national poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows about 70% of Americans would prefer a more permanent time zone, though they're split on whether that should be Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time.

"Our bodies are very much in tune to what's going on with the sun," said Dr. Amy Seery.  

Like many doctors, Seery says the evidence is mounting that while the time change may be annoying to many, for some it's a serious health risk.

"Even though we may all agree for a time change, try telling that to little children and infants.  Just when you get their sleep schedules set, one of these suckers comes along.  It's very detrimental to the health of a parent," Dr. Seery said.  

As for teens and adults, she added, "We know that when these time changes occur, it can have negative impacts on people already prone to mental health or defects."

That's not to mention the increased risks of stroke or heart attack, car crashes, and workplace accidents in the week or two immediately after a time change.  

According to the #LockTheClock movement, right now there are 32 states with active proposals to end time changes.  That includes Kansas which has two bills in Topeka right now, one stopping the clocks at Standard Time, the other sticking permanently with daylight saving time.  Both bills came from Rep. Kristey Williams, R - Augusta.

"The original bill was only what we can do without congressional intervention  And that was stay on Standard Time," Williams said.  "Arizona and Hawaii, they stay on Standard Time....But this one is actually one step further. It's saying that most people in Kansas would prefer to stay on Daylight Saving Time and the reason is because most of our awake hours give you a little bit more sunshine."

But the only way Kansas can do that is if the legislature approves it pending congressional action.  There are currently two bills, one stalled in the U.S. House and the other stalled in the U.S. Senate, that would do precisely that.

Many Kansans KAKE News spoke with fear taking the lead on stopping time changes would allow other states to steal business away from Kansas.

"If you're the odd one out there may be some costs associated with being the first one to do it in this region," said Jeremy Hill, director of the Wichita State Center for Economic Development and Business Research.

Hill says the evidence is slight for the effectiveness of constantly switching back and forth.

"In this building the air conditioning stays on until well past 6 o'clock.  It doesn't matter if people are here or not," he said.

An, he says, businesses lose an estimated $1.7 billion every year in productivity just from employees having to stop and switch the time on the clocks at work, plus another $433 million due to time change related illnesses and work problems due to insufficient sleep.

Meanwhile, Hill says, businesses are used to dealing with multiple time zones.  It's only in Johnson County he can see the potential for a problem.

"In the Kansas City metro where people are going across the border on a daily routine, trying to figure out what time zone they would be," he explained.

 Then he added, "If we switched over, would we be the only state that has a border like that?  Absolutely not.  There's a number of other communities that get used to it.  And it's just part of their daily routine."

That concern is why Rep. Williams said her first bill, opting Kansas out of Daylight Saving, stalled out.  

"If we cannot get, at minimum, Missouri to work with us, then that creates confusion on our border," she said. 

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