Action pursued in 30 states to end time changes

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/8/2019

Legislation introduced in Congress on Wednesday would open the door to allow states to act on their own for time changes.

As the nation prepares for the switch to daylight saving time at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has introduced the Sunshine Protection Act to make recognition of DST all year for the entire country.

Meanwhile, the observance of time changes has become a hot-button issue at statehouses across the country. Officials in at least 30 statehouses have or are discussing legislation to end the observance of time changes. Among the reasons given for abandoning time switches is traffic safety.

With the backing of California voters in November 2018, Asemblyman Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, has introduced a bill to do away with time changes in the state.

Voters approved a ballot question last fall authorizing the Legislature to take action to eliminate the time switch and potentially make the move to daylight saving time all year.

Currently, Arizona and Hawaii are the lone states not to take part in time changes. The two states do not recognize DST. Neither do the United States’ five populated territories.

In addition, Alabama and Florida acted last year to adopt year-round DST. However, the states cannot make the shift unless Congress changes federal law.

Federal law does not require states to observe DST, but if they choose to follow the time change they must adhere to the dates set.

The U.S. Department of Transportation states that DST is observed because it saves energy, saves lives and prevents traffic injuries, and reduces crime.

Critics counter the time changes may have been useful for some during a bygone era but it provides little if any real benefit.

Among the factors cited for doing away with time changes is vehicle crashes.

Chu’s bill, AB7, must receive with two-thirds support in both statehouse chambers for passage. Gov. Gavin Newsom must also endorse the change.

If the above steps are taken federal authorization would be the final phase necessary to make the change.

Legislative efforts from Alaska to Maine mostly are divided from states with bills to keep DST year-round and others to abandon observance of the spring change.

Pacific Northwest states

Spurred by the action taken in the Golden State, two legislators in Washington have bills to have Congress authorize the state’s observance of year-round Pacific Daylight Time.

Failure of the feds to act to allow the state to make the change would not necessarily derail the attempts to end time changes. The Senate version, SB5139, would permit year-round Mountain Standard Time.

SB5139 and HB1196 have each advanced from committees to allow additional consideration in their respective chambers.

In Idaho, the state’s House of Representatives voted to kill a bill – H85 – to do away with recognition of DST.

A related bill would go about changing observance to time changes from another angle H123 would exempt the Mountain Standard Time portion of the state from the DST provision.

Three bills in Oregon also address the issue.

HB2297 and SB320 would keep the state on DST all year. The Senate Business and General Government Committee is scheduled to discuss SB320 on March 12.

SB464 would go the opposite route and keep the state on year-round Pacific Standard Time.

The Wyoming Legislature came one vote shy of sending to the governor a bill to keep the state on DST all year. HB14 called for the governor to pursue a change to the central time zone if at least three contiguous states voted to do the same.

Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Park, wrote in his bill the biannual change of time “is disruptive to commerce and to the daily schedules of the residents of the state of Wyoming.”

Elsewhere in the region, legislation in Montana to keep the state on standard time year-round failed.

The Motor Carriers of Montana were opposed to the bill. The group cited concerns about people in the region being in three different time zones in one day.

Western states

One Utah bill would have the state stay on DST all year. HB66 notes the change could only be made once the federal government permits states to opt out of standard time.

Across the state line in New Mexico there are contending bills that address the state’s observance of time changes.

The House voted 35-32 to advance one bill to keep the state on Mountain Standard Time year-round. Specifically, HB73 would exempt the state from DST.

Senators voted 25-17 to approve a separate bill that would eliminate time changes from a different approach.

SB226 would keep the state on DST throughout the year. Of course, the change could only be made if federal law is changed to exempt states from reverting back to standard time.

Both bills await further consideration in the opposite chamber of the statehouse.

An Alaska bill would exempt the state from springing forward. Specifically, HB43 would authorize the state to observe standard time all year.

Passage of the legislation would greenlight the Legislature to petition the feds to change the boundaries of the state’s time zones or to place all or part of Alaska within Pacific Standard Time.

A Colorado bill, HB1074, to drop observance of DST failed to get consideration and has died for the year.

Midwestern states

Legislation in Iowa and Missouri advocate for the recognition of DST year-round.

One Missouri bill, HB871, would require the state to recognize DST year-round if U.S. code is changed to permit states to make the change.

A second measure, HJR39, in the Missouri has been withdrawn from consideration. As introduced, it called for permitting voters to decide whether they want to establish DST as the state’s new standard time.

In bordering Iowa, HF71 would establish DST as the official time in Iowa all year.

A Minnesota bill would go the other way on the issue of time changes. SF475 would abolish recognition in the state of DST.

A failed bill in Kansas, HB2008, also sought to abandon recognition of DST.

The North Dakota House voted overwhelmingly to kill a bill to put the entire state in a single time zone.

Since 1883, the southwest corner of the state has observed Mountain time while the rest of the state has observed Central time.

HB1486 sought to include the entire state in Central Standard Time.

The recognition of multiple time zones also is the topic of one Indiana bill.

Most of the Hoosier State recognizes Eastern time, but multiple western border counties observe Central time.

SB542 would put all of Indiana in the Central time zone.

Southern states

The time change issue is getting strong consideration in the Tennessee statehouse.

SB1100 calls for year-round observance of DST. The bill has advanced from a subcommittee and awaits further action in the Senate State and Local Government Committee.

The House version, SB237, is scheduled for discussion March 13 in the House Departments and Agencies Subcommittee.

An effort underway in Arkansas would also eliminate time-switching. Instead, the state would stay on DST around the year.

HR1034 does include one caveat. In addition to needing federal approval, the switch would be contingent on neighboring states also pursuing the change.

The measure is scheduled for consideration on March 11 in the House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Across the state line in Oklahoma, one bill would go the opposite route than Arkansas on time changes.

HB1117 calls for abandoning recognition of DST. Instead, the state would stay on Central Standard Time throughout the year.

Two efforts underway in the Texas statehouse call for doing away with daylight saving time.

Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, and Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, introduced bills to exempt Texas from DST.

HB49 and SB190 would keep regions of the state in the Central and Mountain time zones on standard time throughout the year.

If approved, Texas would set their clocks back one hour on Nov. 4, 2019 – the day after DST ends – and not change them thereafter.

Three bills introduced in South Carolina would end the practice of twice-annual time changes.

S11, H3246 and H3335 state that if Congress amends U.S. code to permit states to observe year-round DST it is the intent of the South Carolina Legislature for “daylight saving time to be the year-round standard time.

In Mississippi, the House acted in February to approve a bill to adopt DST as the year-round standard time.

HB1548, however, missed a deadline to advance in the Senate and is dead for the year.

Northeastern states

Two bills being in Maine propose different switches to the time change issue.

LD144 would move Maine into the Atlantic Time zone. The change would exempt the state from setting clocks back in the fall.

LD885 would keep Maine in Eastern Daylight Time all year, as long as the feds eliminate DST nationwide.

The bills are scheduled for consideration on March 11 in the State and Local Government Committee.

A Vermont bill, H10, would establish Eastern Daylight Time as the year-round time.

The New Hampshire House acted last week to approve a bill to remove the state from Eastern Standard Time. Instead, HB567 would convert the state to Atlantic Standard Time all year. As a result, the state would eliminate DST.

The legislation now headed to the Senate contains a requirement that Maine and Massachusetts also make the change to take effect in New Hampshire. A proposed amendment to include Vermont was rejected by the New Hampshire House.

The Massachusetts legislature acted in 2017 to assemble a commission to study the issue. The group recommended the move as long as Maine and New Hampshire agreed to the same.

This year, a bill in the Massachusetts Senate – S1870 – calls for exempting the state from DST if and when Maine and New Hampshire adopt the change.

In New York, two bills would establish a task force to study the effects of the state opting out of DST.

A1690/S3928 await consideration in committees.

Pursuit of legislation in West Virginia, SB486, to keep the state on DST year-round failed to advance at the statehouse.

Similarly, a resolution has died in Virginia calling on the secretary of commerce and trade to study the effects of the state’s continued observance of DST.

The secretary would also study the potential consequences of a decision to use either standard time or daylight saving time year-round.

HJR588 stated that “recent studies have shown that daylight saving time does not lead to energy savings and may even lead to an average increase in energy consumption.”

The measure added that “additional studies have shown that participation in daylight saving time may lower productivity and increase the risk of traffic accidents.”

 

 

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