Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:


March 15

The Johnson City Press on making Daylight Saving Time permanent:

While most of us were fast asleep early Sunday morning, we lost an hour.

Our connected phones and devices automatically updated without a hitch, but our bodies’ internal clocks may take longer to adjust to Daylight Saving Time.

Robbed of an hour of sleep, many Americans report being tired at work and school in the days following a spring forward. The accompanying fall back in November can be just as jarring.

Daylight Saving Time was instituted during World War I to save energy, and it was made permanent in the U.S. in the 1960s. In 1974, Congress extended it during the energy crisis, and then again extended it by a few more weeks in 2007.

Some enjoy having extra hours of daylight tacked on to the end of the day in the summer, but many early risers complain of waking in the dark.

Hawaii and Arizona do not observe Daylight Saving Time. It’s also rare in Asia, Africa and places near the equator.

Fifteen U.S. states, including Tennessee, have passed legislation or initiated other legal processes to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, but the decision lies with Congress.

Federal lawmakers would have to enact changes to the Uniform Time Act to keep us from falling back again in November.

An often proposed but never approved law, the Sunshine Protection Act, would negate Standard Time and keep us on Daylight Saving Time year-round.



March 5

The Kingsport Times-News on a proposed Tennessee House bill about requiring COVID-19 vaccinations:

If it gets that far, Rep. Bud Hulsey’s useless bill dealing with COVID vaccinations should be disposed of when it comes to a floor vote in the Tennessee House. His ardor in supporting individual rights is to be appreciated, but this bill is unnecessary and largely ineffective.

The Kingsport Republican’s proposed legislation “prohibits state and local authorities from forcing, requiring or coercing a person to receive an immunization or vaccination for COVID-19 against the person’s will.”

If it passes, would that mean the medical facility you work for could not demand you take a COVID shot to protect other health care workers and patients, or be fired? No, it would not. The bill was amended to exclude health care facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes, meaning health care institutions would have the ability to require their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Would businesses be prohibited from denying you service if you did not get a COVID shot? No, they would not. In fact, the bill does not affect private businesses.

So who does it affect? Only entities with government ties, Hulsey said, though such employees can waive the vaccine due to medical and religious reasons.

And so, is the bill in response to an attempt by entities with government ties to require employees to take the vaccination? No. To the contrary, Gov. Bill Lee has said that vaccination should be a “personal choice” and that he will not force anyone to get the vaccine.

So what’s the purpose of the bill? To give him and others peace of mind and assurance that the governor’s word will remain true, says Hulsey. He told a TV station that “if the governor dies, God forbid, and the lieutenant governor steps in, I don’t know what the lieutenant governor’s convictions are.”

According to The Tennessean, “Hulsey said his legislation would take away governmental power to ‘force’ vaccines onto Tennesseans, although no state or local authorities have proposed a similar mandate. He also falsely claimed the vaccines may cause genetic modification, which is unfounded, according to fact checks by The Washington Post, Associated Press and other media outlets.”

Some of Hulsey’s compatriots expressed concerns about his bill during subcommittee debate. “The concern I have is it creates an anti-vaccine attitude,” said Rep. Sabi “Doc” Kumar, R-Springfield, who is a surgeon. “Vaccines have saved lives and have been proven effective, and the legislation could ‘set a tone and a precedent’ to ban vaccination mandates for responding to future health crises.”

“I haven’t heard anybody anywhere around say they are going to force people to get a vaccine,” said Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville. He said the bill utilizes “scare tactics” to attack a problem that does not exist.

Agreed. Hulsey’s bill is another example of a legislator trying to create an issue where none exists.