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Proposed Bill Would Let Voters Decide Whether To End Daylight Saving Time

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iStockphoto.com- Joe Belanger

Daylight saving time ends this weekend and one Utah lawmaker is drafting legislation that could potentially end the practice of “springing forward” and “falling back.”

Ending daylight saving time is an issue that has come up year after year in the Utah legislature—seven different bills have been discussed since 2010. Earlier this year when lawmakers were debating the issue in the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Doug Sagers (R-Tooele) expressed exasperation at the proposed legislation.

“It just seems like Groundhog Day all over again,” Sagers said. “I’m just kind of tired of it.”

Rep. Norm Thurston (R-Provo) is drafting legislation for next year’s session that would let voters decide whether to end the biannual time change. A bill to end daylight saving time in Utah has never passed out of committee or come up for a floor debate in a legislative chamber. 

“We have pretty good evidence that this is widely supported across the state of Utah,” Thurston says. “There’s a lot of interest in changing things, yet the legislature can’t even get it out of committee. So maybe it’s time that we let the public decide.”

Thurston says if approved by the legislature, the issue would be on the ballot in the 2018 election.

Lawmakers in the past have cited car accidents in the dark morning hours following the spring time change and say ending daylight saving time would make commutes safer for children walking to school. Opponents say they enjoy evening sunlight in the spring and summer, and that ending daylight saving time would hurt businesses.

A survey commissioned by the legislature in 2014 found that 66% of Utahns want to end the time change and remain on Mountain Standard Time, while 15% of respondents said they’d like to keep it. 

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