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It’s Time To End Twice Per Year Clock Changes

January 8, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on It’s Time To End Twice Per Year Clock Changes
Sunrise at the YMCA sign at 16th & Locust, April 2013 photo

All over the United States there’s an effort to end changing our clocks twice per year.

From August 2019:

So far this year, at least 36 states have introduced legislation to end or study the practice, more than any year before. Some bills call for all-year standard time, but most endorse permanent daylight saving time — which would result in an extra hour of evening sunlight for more of the year in exchange for a delayed sunrise in the winter.

The issue has played out on social media with the hashtags #DitchTheSwitch and #LockTheClock, and it has pitted recreational businesses that would benefit from longer days, like golf courses, against groups that worry about the danger of darker mornings, such as parent-teacher associations. (NBC News)

Eight months of the year, first Sunday in March through first Sunday in November, we’re in Daylight Saving Time (DST)— an hour ahead of standard time.

The federal government gives states two options:

  1. Change clocks twice per year
  2. Observe Standard Time all year.

Observing Daylight Saving Time all year isn’t an option.

States Arizona & Hawaii have chosen #2 — to observe Standard Time all year.

The recent non-scientific Sunday Poll wasn’t very popular, but that’s ok.

Q: Agree or disagree: The federal government shouldn’t let states opt out of 2x per year Daylight Saving Time (DST) clock changes.

  • Strongly agree: 4 [22.22%]
  • Agree: 3 [16.67%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [5.56%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 1 [5.56%]
  • Disagree: 5 [27.78%]
  • Strongly disagree: 4 [22.22%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

I’m personally in favor of ending the twice per year clock changes. I think I’d tend to favor DST all year over 12 months of Standard Time.

However, it’s not just one or the other. Some suggest DST, for 8 or 12 months, is bad.

Daylight saving time (DST) eliminates bright morning light that’s crucial to synchronizing your biologic clock, possibly putting people at increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other harmful effects of sleep deprivation, said Dr. Beth Ann Malow, director of the Sleep Disorders Division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. (WebMD)

Maybe it’s good that DST all year isn’t an option?

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should The Feds Allow Illinois & Other States Opt Out Of Changing Clocks Twice Per Year?

January 5, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should The Feds Allow Illinois & Other States Opt Out Of Changing Clocks Twice Per Year?
Please vote below

Daylight Saving Time will start again on Sunday March 8, 2020 — giving us an extra hour of daylight in the evenings. It’ll end on Sunday November 1, 2020. Nearly 8 months of the year, with the rest being standard time. Now Illinois is considering a major change from neighboring states like Missouri.

The idea of having Missouri and Illinois in different time zones is circulating after the Illinois Senate approved legislation earlier this year that would make daylight saving time the standard in Illinois.

Although the proposal still needs approval in the Illinois House, as well as the signature of the governor and an OK from the federal government, it has residents and business owners on both sides of the Mississippi River thinking how it might affect their lives. (Post-Dispatch)

The Illinois Senate passed bill 533 last month, it was introduced by state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill.

Originally enacted as an energy-saving measure during World War I, daylight saving time reached its 100-year anniversary in 2018. While initially reserved as a local decision, the practice became law nationwide when U.S. Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966.

As such, states that approve proposals to end the clock change must first get approval from the federal government before they take effect, according to Manar. “The only two ways that it can change in Illinois, ultimately, even with this bill becoming law, is either Congress gives us an exemption as a state or Congress implements a uniform standard presumably different than what we have nationwide,” Manar said, according to the Illinois Radio Network. (Illinois Policy)

Today’s poll is about the federal government and states wishing to make changes to DST in their states.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.
— Steve Patterson

 

 

2020 Census Prediction: St. Louis City & County Will Each Lose Population

January 1, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy, St. Louis County, STL Region Comments Off on 2020 Census Prediction: St. Louis City & County Will Each Lose Population

The decennial census is ramping up for an important task three months away:

The U.S. census counts each resident of the country, where they live on April 1, every ten years ending in zero. The Constitution mandates the enumeration to determine how to apportion the House of Representatives among the states. (U.S. Census)

The 2010 census officially showed population losses for St. Louis City (a smaller percent than prior decades), St. Louis County (first time losing population), and a small gain for Missouri (resulting in the loss of a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives).

I haven’t seen anything happen during the last ten years to convince me we won’t see a repeat for 2020. Yes, St. Louis’ central corridor will again see gains, but the net for the city will be a loss. The percentage of loss may drop again, but that’s small consolation.

I have no doubt St. Louis County will see another net loss, as the exodus from North County continues. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong about the city & county, but I don’t think I’ll have to eat my words.

Here are the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Will the City & County population change with the 2020 census?

  1. St. Louis City & County will both have population losses: 16 [64%]
  2. St. Louis County will have a population increase, St. Louis City a loss: 4 [16%]
  3. St. Louis City & County will both have population increases: 3 [12%]
  4. St. Louis City will have a population increase, St. Louis County a loss: 2 [8%]
  5. Unsure/no answer: 0 [0%]

Obviously the majority agree with me.

Missouri is expected to hold onto its congressional seats, but Illinois won’t be so fortunate. Illinois is one of ten states expected to lose a seat(s).

New census figures will be used to redraw everything from the city’s wards (dropping from 28 to 14) to House & Senate districts. New wards/districts will be in place for 2022 elections.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Readers Split On Eliminating Personal Property Tax

December 18, 2019 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Taxes Comments Off on Readers Split On Eliminating Personal Property Tax
Missouri Capital, Jefferson City, MO, April 2011

A Missouri State Senator is going to try to eliminate personal property taxes by allowing citizens to vote on a constitutional amendment:

State Senator Bill Eigel says it’s time to end the payments. He sponsored the bill, SJR 44, which would ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment prohibiting counties and other political subdivisions from levying or collecting a tax on personal property. (KMOV)

In the recent Sunday Poll readers were split on the idea of eliminating the tax.

Q: Agree or disagree: Missouri should eliminate personal property taxes on vehicles.

  • Strongly agree: 8 [26.67%]
  • Agree: 5 [16.67%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [3.33%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [3.33%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 1 [3.33%]
  • Disagree: 6 [20%]
  • Strongly disagree: 6 [20%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 2 [6.67%]

Sen. Eigel’s bill, SJR44, is the same as SJR5 introduced a year earlier. It never got out of committee.  Eigel represents part of St. Charles County.

I think most realize the folly of the state taking away a source of revenue for Missouri’s counties. Not all counties are equal, some likely depend much more than others on this revenue. Taking it away might mean a reduction in services provided, or an increase in some other tax.

I favor evaluating government services and revenue sources to ensure they’re fair, but I don’t favor constitutionally starving counties to the point they’ve got to substantially reduces services.

Hopefully this new bill also won’t get out of committee.

— Steve Patterson

 

Missouri Is A Solid Red State

December 11, 2019 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Missouri Is A Solid Red State

When I moved to Missouri in 1990 it was a swing state, a bellwether:

The Missouri bellwether is a political phenomenon that notes that the state of Missouri voted for the winner in all but three U.S. Presidential elections from 1904 to 2016 (the exceptions are 1956, 2008 and 2012). While states like Ohio, Nevada, Florida and New Mexico have been arguably stronger indicators of political trends in recent years, Missouri was a consistent swing state throughout the 20th century. Prior to the 2008 elections, Lincoln County, Missouri was said to be the only bellwether county in a bellwether state. (Wikipedia)

Missouri would go red or blue throughout the 20th century. However, the last time Missouri went blue was in 1996. The country went blue in 2008 & 2012, but Missouri stayed red. The 2008 election was very close in Missouri, but widened in 2012 & 2016.

Vintage photo of the former offices of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. From my collection

Twentieth century bellwether, 21st century red state.  Here’s the results from the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: The right Democratic nominee could turn Missouri from Red to Blue in the 2020 General Election

  • Strongly agree: 4 [13.79%]
  • Agree: 2 [6.9%]
  • Somewhat agree: 2 [6.9%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 2 [6.9%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [10.34%]
  • Disagree: 6 [20.69%]
  • Strongly disagree: 9 [31.03%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [3.45%]

Most agree with me — regardless of the Democratic nominee a majority of Missouri voters vote for Trump. Illinois, meanwhile, remains a safe blue state.

— Steve Patterson

 

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