A close-up photo of a cuckoo clock showing a time of 11:00. The clock is in between two windows with red shutters on a wooden house. Made in Germany is inscribed on the clock. A wooden figure with a yellow hat holding a rolling pin is on the left in front of the house anda dog next to a figure with a green hat is on the right.
A German cuckoo clock is displayed at City Clock Company in Lincoln. Co-owner Deb Burkey is in favor of legislation to get rid of the biannual clock change for daylight saving time because the additional service calls her business receives after a time change are a pain. “It would free up a lot of time, no pun,” she said. Photo by Brian Beach/Nebraska News

The week after the biannual time change is a pain for employees at City Clock Company in Lincoln. 

Third-generation co-owner Deb Burkey said the company completes around 200 service calls the week after the clocks change, as clock owners adjust their mechanical clocks with mixed success. 

“We are on the phone constantly with people troubleshooting them,” Burkey said. “The day after that weekend, it’s like a triage in here.”

The chaos at City Clock Company after every second Sunday in March and first Sunday in November could be coming to an end sometime soon.

In this year’s Nebraska legislative session, Sen. Tom Briese introduced a bill — LB143 —  to make daylight saving time year-round. The bill received unanimous, bipartisan support from members of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and advanced to General File, the next step in the state legislative process. 

But there it’s remained.

Caught up in a session loaded with filibusters and controversy around banning medical care for trans youth and a bill to ban abortions at 6-weeks that dramatically failed last week, the pace of passing bills has ground to a halt. With 20 days left in the session, time is running out on LB143.

It’s not the first time Briese has tried.

A similar bill was introduced — also by Briese — in 2021 and advanced to the second round of floor debate after a 40-3 vote in its favor. However, no further action was taken and the bill was indefinitely postponed. 

If LB143 is signed into law this session, two additional stipulations would have to be met before permanent daylight saving time could take effect. 

First, the bill requires three neighboring states to pass a similar law to Nebraska’s, allowing for greater continuity along state lines. Colorado and Wyoming have already passed daylight saving time legislation, but either Iowa, Kansas, Missouri or South Dakota would still need to join Nebraska.

Screenshot 2023 03 29 at 2.20.57 PM - Nebraskans sound off on potential for year-round daylight saving time
Data from the National Conference of State Legislatures as March 27 at https://www.ncsl.org/transportation/daylight-saving-time-state-legislation.
Graphic by Brian Beach using mapchart.net.

The federal government would also need to pass a law allowing states to change to permanent daylight saving time. Current statutes allow for states to choose year-round standard time or phases of daylight saving time, but not year-round daylight saving time. 

Burkey said she would prefer standard time become permanent because it would keep it lighter outside when kids go to school in the winter, but she supports any effort to get rid of time changes. 

“The big thing is to get everybody to agree on which one, and whatever it is — either one — we’ll all adapt and we’ll do well,” she said. 

At another clock shop 90 miles west in Grand Island, Ray Evans, clocksmith and owner of Time After Time Clock Services, also said he would support changing the current system of daylight saving time.

Evans has more than 50 antique clocks in his shop and twice a year, he is responsible for changing them all. According to Evans, the March “spring forward” change isn’t too tough — he only has to move each clock one hour forward, letting it chime at 30 minute intervals along the way — but the November “fall back” change is a more complex affair, since he must either move the clock forward 11 hours or stop the clock entirely for exactly one hour. 

However, Evans said the proposed changes don’t mean as much to him in the clock business as they do for his gardening hobby. 

“I like daylight saving time because I get to go home after I close my shop and work in my garden for longer hours in the evening,” he said. 

Keeping the extra daylight in the evenings could also benefit the golf industry in Nebraska. 

Paul Feauto, a golfer from Papillion, said he prefers year-round daylight saving time instead of standard time because he can golf in the summer until 9:30 instead of 8:30.

For Mark Schulte, head golf professional at Eagle Hills Golf Course in Papilion, daylight saving time is unnecessary. Schulte went to college in Arizona, one of two states that does not observe daylight saving time — the other being Hawaii. He said a change to year-round standard time could shorten the time for golf leagues on summer nights, but conversely, could allow more golfers time to play a round in the morning. 

Some Nebraskans would prefer the current biannual clock changes to remain the way they are, including Jim Timm, the president and executive director of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association.

Timm said the lack of consistency across state lines could make it challenging for broadcasters planning programming for drive times, particularly in the Omaha media market, which includes Council Bluffs and other Iowa cities that could be observing a different time.

“Our concern is that if not all neighboring states are on the same time zone, we’re going to have kind of a patchwork looking clock of which states observe which time at which time of the year,” Timm said. 

Permanent daylight saving time could also impact AM radio, because AM stations have to operate on different power limits between sunrise and sunset.

“When sunrise gets later and later, it impacts the ability of our AM radio members to fully serve their potential audience,” Timm said.

Brian Beach is a senior journalism major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications.