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Iowa lawmakers consider making daylight saving time permanent

Rep. Mike Sexton says his bill is rooted in the negative impacts the time change can have on health.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A bill that passed the Iowa Statehouse Tuesday would would keep the state permanently in daylight saving time, eliminating the need to "spring forward" or "fall back" every year. 

The measure was proposed by Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Calhoun, who says research on the issue shows changing back and forth can have negative health impacts.

"I read car accidents go up, workplace accidents go up," Sexton said. "Which all makes sense, because people are tired."

He said the two main groups he hears from are mothers of young children and teachers.

"That first 10 days is tough on a child," Sexton said.

Leslie Carpenter says her son has severe schizophrenia and suffers during these yearly changes. 

"He often does experience sundowning much like people with Alzheimer's do," Carpenter said. "We know that when that sun sets earlier, it seems to have a detrimental effect on his illness. He's gone back into a psychosis repeatedly." 

But some groups, like the Iowa Chamber Alliance, aren't on board. Representatives point to the possible confusion it could create for local chambers at Iowa's border, like the one in Sioux City, which serves a tri-state region. 

"If you're working as the Sioux City Chamber director, having to manage different time zones in three different states is challenging," said Iowa Chamber Alliance Lobbyist Dustin Miller. "Not being on an island is the most important aspect of us."

The bill passed the Iowa House, and is making its way through the Senate. Even if it is approved and signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, nothing would change in the state until the federal government approves permanent daylight saving time—which it got one step closer to doing on Tuesday.

The Sunshine Protection Act passed the U.S. Senate and now heads to the House. If Iowa's legislation passes, it would join 19 other states with similar measures in place. 

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