Time changes evaluated in 14 states

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, March 10, 2017

As the annual ritual to change clocks forward occurs this weekend, state lawmakers from more than a dozen states are talking about whether the observance of daylight saving time is worth continuing.

States reviewing legislation to exempt them from time changes stretch from Maine to Montana. Currently, Arizona and Hawaii are the lone states not to take part in time changes.

Advocates for Daylight Saving Time say it saves the U.S. approximately 0.5 percent energy each day it is used. Critics counter that the time changes may have been useful for some during a bygone era, but it provides little if any real benefit.

In most cases across the country state lawmakers are pursuing rules that would permit their states to eliminate the spring time change.

Efforts underway in Illinois, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska and Texas would authorize the states to stop recognizing DST.

One bill halfway through the New Mexico statehouse would keep the state on Mountain Daylight Time year-round. Specifically, Gov. Susana Martinez would be required to apply to the U.S. Department of Transportation to transfer the state to the central time zone. New Mexico would then opt out of DST in the new time zone.

A proposal in California would eliminate DST and stick with Pacific Standard Time all year. The final decision would be left up to voters.

In Missouri, a House joint resolution would leave the final decision on the state’s observance of DST to others outside the Show-Me State.

The state’s voters decide whether to pursue an exemption from time changes. If approved by voters, the state would delay adoption of the rule until any two of Missouri’s eight adjacent states also act to do away with DST recognition.

One Michigan bill calls for petitioning the U.S. DOT to include the entire state within the Eastern Time zone and abandon time changes. A portion of the Upper Peninsula is in the Central Time zone.

Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island have efforts to change the state’s time zone from Eastern Time to Atlantic Time. The legislation would also exempt the states from the twice-annual time changes.

The New Hampshire and Rhode Island measures specify each state would only act after the state of Massachusetts adopts the Atlantic Time Zone.

In Massachusetts, a special commission is considering whether the state should leave Eastern Standard Time and join Atlantic Standard Time. The group intends to make a decision by the end of March.

Connecticut has bills to adopt Standard Time year-round while a separate effort would keep the state on DST all year.

Daylight-saving time begins this year on Sunday, March 12.

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