Daylight-saving bill to illuminate softball assuming cows don't play hardball

April 01, 1993|By Ana Puga | Ana Puga,Boston Globe

WASHINGTON -- If Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., has his way, Americans will spring ahead earlier and fall back later.

"Additional daylight-saving time would let Americans play more softball and exercise outdoors, walk safely home from work, cook out with their families, use less energy and drive more safely," Mr. Markey has concluded.

Hence: The Daylight Saving Time Extension Act of 1993.

The proposed bill is brought to you by Mr. Markey and California Republican Rep. Carlos J. Moorhead, the same team that in 1986 successfully pushed to extend daylight saving time for three weeks in April.

How would this work? Simple. Instead of moving your clocks ahead one hour on the first Sunday in April, you would move clocks forward on the third Sunday in March.

And instead of moving clocks back on the last Sunday in October, you would wait another week until the first Sunday in November.

Like magic, you get more daylight trick-or-treating time for the kids on Halloween, Mr. Markey noted. Although he doesn't have any children, the congressman said, "I'm doing this for 250 million Americans."

"The bottom line is that members of Congress like to play hardball during the day and softball at night," Mr. Markey added, as he tossed a softball up and down in his right hand.

His daylight-saving scheme would go into effect 60 days after it becomes law. The measure has yet to be introduced in the Senate.

Some argue that prolonging the day would save lives.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that nearly 200 lives could be saved by extending daylight-saving time year round.

"It's a simple proposition," said the institute's president, Brian O'Neill. "Adding an hour of light in the afternoon increases the visibility of vehicles and pedestrian lives. Presumably, because there are more activities in the afternoon than the morning, daylight-saving time saves many more lives in the afternoon light than are lost in the extra morning darkness."

An organization for people with eye disease, the Baltimore-based RP Foundation Fighting Blindness, also favors the extension of daylight-saving time as a boost to people with night vision problems.

But those who press for more day light-saving time will inevitably come up against the cows. In 1986, the move to extend daylight saving passed in the Senate over the objections of lawmakers from rural areas.

Kentucky Sen. Wendell Ford, a Democrat who took a dim view of the 1986 daylight-saving time extension, plans to fight the measure again this year.

Seems that farmers want the light in the morning, when they work outdoors. And cows don't like changes in their milking schedules.

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