A bill just two lines in length threatens to cause some major changes across the Upper Peninsula. The Sunshine Protection Act passed the United States Senate earlier this week unanimously. Given the support for the measure in the upper chamber, it is hard to imagine the House of Representatives will derail it. From there it would head to the desk of President Joe Biden.
“This bill makes daylight savings time the new, permanent standard time.”
There is general broad-based support for ending the time switch, but that breaks down when you have to opt for either DST or standard time. For locations on the western edge of a time zone, especially in the northern part of the country where days shorten significantly in wintertime, the legislation will push daybreak until well after bus routes pick up students and workers settle in at their desks.
Sunrise for the City of Houghton on December 21st, roughly when the winter solstice happens, is 8:38am during standard time. On mornings with clouds and snow, first light comes just minutes earlier. If the Sunshine Protection Act becomes law, that will be an hour later going forward. Four full months, November through February, would see darkness linger until at least 8 am.
The obvious ramification would be to see additional UP counties switch to Central Daylight Time. Currently, only Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson, and Menominee Counties are an hour behind the rest of the state. Elected and school officials have adopted a wait and see approach, but the rapid progression of the federal legislation means a decision on such a drastic change could be forced to happen in short order. Correction: The Sunshine Protection Act would take effect when clocks spring forward in March 2023.