Letter to the Editor: If Sunrise Protection Act becomes law, boarding Quincy school buses will be done in dark

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Just think of sunrise in Quincy at about 8:30 a.m. the first week of January 2024.

Until this past weekend, I heard very little about the Sunrise Protection Act, a bill sponsored by Florida Republicans Marco Rubio and Vern Buchanan that had been kicking around the Senate for three years. It suddenly passed on March 15.

Florida is the “Sunshine State” and is much closer to the equator, so perhaps with their greater luminance level during dawn morning twilight, it is a much better situation. Many of the “fuel the economy” associates in Florida and other southern states will, I am sure, get the better of this legislation.

This bill passed the Senate by a 100-0 vote through a process called “unanimous consent,” which means that no senator objected to its passage.

Living in Quincy, north of all the southern states, we have less light level at daybreak. If you live in International Falls, Minn., there is even less light level at daybreak in and around January when their sun is way, way to the south.

Boarding school buses would be done in the dark, well before sunrise, in Quincy.

Is this what we really want for the children of Quincy?

A 17-year-old girl, a junior at Quincy High School, was struck and killed while crossing North 24th Street on her way to her bus stop at approximately 6:30 a.m. Jan. 5, 2007. on north 24th street. Sunrise for that cold dark gray school day was 7:28 a.m.

If this bill is passed by the House after the Nov. 8 election, I would think it would go into effect no sooner than November 2023. If it does, this would put sunrise in Quincy at 8:28 a.m. on Jan. 5.

Strange to me it never came up as election issue, that I know of, for the Illinois 15th District House seat.

I have always maintained the clocks should be set to maximize daylight while children are being transported to and from school. All the business about fueling the economy runs a distant second.

Do local school boards have a plan if this legislation is passed?

Open discussion of this issue has merit and should be brought up in the community. I believe it is better to “shine a light” on this issue now and not after it becomes law and becomes a real train wreck for the community.

Don Carpenter
Quincy, Illinois

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