Wisconsin Daylight Savings Time, Question 1 (April 1957)

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The Wisconsin Daylight Savings Time Question was a Wisconsin referendum / legislatively-referred state statute on the April 2, 1957 ballot in Wisconsin, where it was approved.

This referendum sought the people's approval to set Wisconsin on Daylight Savings Time by law.[1]

Election results

Question 1
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 578,661 54.63%
No480,65645.37%

Official results via: The Wisconsin Blue Book 1958

Text of measure

The language that appeared on the ballot:

"Shall section 175.095 (2) of the statutes, which proposes a statewide daylight saving time of one hour per day from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in September in each year be law beginning with the last Sunday in April 1957?"[1]

Support

Major support was led mainly by business, labor, and urban groups. They argued:[2]

  • More than half of the U.S. states had already switched to Daylight Savings Time, may of which were closely related to Wisconsin.[2]
  • 80% of Wisconsin's population were non-farmers, who would see benefits from Daylight Savings Time.[2]
  • Regular wage earners would have more time for outdoor recreation with there families in the evening hours.[2]
  • It would help with keeping TV schedules steady, as major broadcasters where in states that already adopted Daylight Savings Time--New York and California.[2]
  • Daylight Savings Time better matches the movement of the sun.[3]
  • Daylight Savings Time would not affect cow milk product. Supporters stated Wisconsin had record milk production during both world wars, when the state used Daylight Savings Time.[4]

Opposition

Major opposition was led by farmer groups. They contended:[2]

  • Daylight Savings Time would put an undue hardship on dairy farmers who would have to get up an hour earlier to get milk ready for delivery.[2]
  • Daylight Savings Time would create some problems with harvesting crops, because farmers have to wait for the sun to dry morning dew.[2]

Other opponents stated:

  • Daylight Savings Time would cause problems for families to try to get children to go to bed while it was still light outside, and get them up for school in the months of May to September.[2]

Path to the ballot

  • The referendum was placed on the ballot under Ch.6 of the Wisconsin Laws of 1957[5]
  • This referendum was brought about after forty years of debate in Wisconsin as to whether to implement daylight savings time. Ten years earlier, in 1947, a simple advisory question was put to the people regarding daylight savings. That referendum, which was only an advisory question, was defeated, but there were complaints that the question was poorly worded and ambiguous as to whether you favored or opposed daylight savings.[2]

See also

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