Daylight saving or standard time. Just pick one, these Colorado lawmakers say.
Bills that would ‘lock the clock’ are being debated at the state Legislature
The sun clears the trees and sheds sun rays across the prairie meadow at Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge in Arvada. (Seth Beres via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/CC BY 2.0)
Legislation that would enact permanent daylight saving time in Colorado passed the state House of Representatives last week, but federal law needs to change before the switch can be made.
The Daylight Saving Time Year Round bill would establish permanent daylight saving time in the state, which means that Coloradans would not change the clock twice a year.
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The legislation, House Bill 22-1297, was sponsored by state Reps. Cathy Kipp, a Fort Collins Democrat, Patrick Neville, a Castle Rock Republican, and state Sens. Jeff Bridges, a Greenwood Village Democrat and majority whip, and Ray Scott, a Grand Junction Republican.
Colorado is currently in daylight saving time, which takes place from the second Sunday in March through the first Sunday in November, when the clocks then change to standard time.
Standard time means there is more light in the morning and less light at night and daylight saving time means there is less light in the morning and more light at night.
Priority is to ‘lock the clock’
While there is debate among lawmakers over whether daylight or standard time should be permanent, most agree that the United States should stop changing the clocks twice a year.
Kipp, Bridges and Scott also sponsor Senate Bill 22-135, which would enact permanent standard time in Colorado, rather than permanent daylight saving time.
“We just decided to go with an all-of-the-above approach,” Kipp told Newsline, referring to sponsoring both bills.
The permanent daylight saving time legislation has both bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition, Kipp said. While there are some people who support keeping the status quo, where Coloradans change the clocks twice a year, most people support picking one time to be permanent.
Kipp said they’ve noticed that there is more support for permanent daylight saving time than for permanent standard time. “It really seems like more people are bought into having more daylight in the afternoon and evening, when they can more effectively use the time.”
The Standard Time Act of 1918 established daylight saving time in the United States as a way to save fuel during World War I and lasted just seven months because of how unpopular the law was, according to WebExhibits. After the law was repealed, states and cities had the option to continue with daylight saving time or stay on permanent standard time.
In 1942, a law, sometimes referred to as “war time,” went into effect that established national daylight saving time, which was meant to help conserve fuel and promote national security during World War II, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The law was repealed in 1945, after the war ended, and there was no national requirement for daylight saving time until the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which set a national standard time that superseded local times. This was done as a way to get all localities within a state to follow the same time, rather than allow counties and cities to opt-out of daylight saving time.
This law, which remains in effect today, allows states to operate on permanent standard time, which Arizona and Hawaii do. This means that the states opt-out of daylight saving time, and do not change their clocks when the rest of the country does. It is against the law for states to enact permanent daylight saving time.
Several U.S. territories also operate on permanent standard time, including Guam, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and American Samoa.
Since 2018, 18 states have passed legislation that would make daylight saving time permanent in their state if the federal government allows it, and in some cases, if neighboring states also make the switch to permanent daylight saving time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Last month, Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, introduced a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent and be considered the new standard time. The Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 passed the U.S. Senate by a process called unanimous consent, which means no senators objected to the legislation.
Florida passed a law in 2018 that would enact permanent daylight saving time in the state as soon as there is change in the federal statute.
If passed, the bill would go into effect in 2023.
At a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing early last month, some Republicans argued that they should be focusing their attention on the crisis in Ukraine and on America’s energy independence, rather than on changing the clocks.
Colorado’s HB22-1297 passed the House of Representatives last week 50-12, with three representatives not voting. The bill needs to pass the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Jared Polis before it becomes law.
If the bill passes and there is change in federal law, permanent daylight saving time in Colorado would go into effect on Nov. 5, 2023.
HB22-1297 was introduced to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Senate Committee on Monday.
There is ample evidence of the negative, short-term consequences of the annual change to daylight saving time in the spring.
– Kannan Ramar, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Because federal law allows states to operate on permanent standard time, if the bill enacting standard time in the state passes the Colorado Legislature, voters in November’s election would vote on whether to adopt permanent standard time, according to the bill’s text. If approved by voters, permanent standard time in Colorado would go into effect next year.
Permanent daylight saving time has the potential to reduce the risk of seasonal depression, cardiac issues and stroke, could benefit the economy and reduce robberies, according to a statement last year from Rubio.
Rubio’s statement also pointed to research that shows permanent daylight saving time could potentially reduce childhood obesity and increase children’s physical fitness, because of the additional daylight in the evenings.
Not all agree that permanent daylight saving time is the way to go.
In 2020, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a statement advocating a switch to permanent standard time, saying that permanent standard time more closely aligns with the rhythms of the body’s internal clock.
“There is ample evidence of the negative, short-term consequences of the annual change to daylight saving time in the spring,” Kannan Ramar, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, said in the statement.
States that border Colorado have introduced or passed similar legislation, sometimes dubbed as “lock the clock” legislation.
Last month, the Iowa House of Representatives passed legislation that, pending federal approval, means that Iowa would be on permanent daylight saving time. A state Senate Committee amended the legislation to say that Iowa would switch to permanent daylight saving time, pending federal approval, if and when the states bordering Iowa — Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin — switch to permanent daylight saving time. A state senator said the amendment addresses concerns about problems that might arise if Iowa establishes a time zone different from neighboring states.
In 2020, Wyoming’s state Legislature passed a bill that would enact permanent daylight saving time if approved by Congress and if three of the following states also enact permanent daylight saving time: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah, according to KHOU 11 News.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill that would enact permanent daylight saving time in Montana as soon as there is change to the law preventing states from switching to permanent daylight saving time.
A Nebraska state senator introduced legislation last year that would place Nebraska on permanent daylight time if three neighboring states approve the switch, according to the Nebraska Examiner.
Utah passed a law in 2020 that would enact permanent daylight saving time, if allowed by Congress, and if four other western states also make the change.
A Kansas state representative introduced a resolution in 2021 that would encourage the federal government to enact permanent daylight saving time.
Last year, a bill that would enact permanent daylight time in New Mexico, pending federal approval, died in the state House Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
Oregon’s state government passed a law in 2019 that would enact permanent daylight saving time in the state — minus one county — if California and Washington also pass legislation to switch to permanent daylight saving time, which Washington did that year.
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