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Utah Reps. Curtis and Owens are on board with the Senate’s Daylight Saving Time bill

The clock that stands in front of Zion First National Bank at the corner of 100 and Main St. in downtown Salt Lake City, March 19, 2022.
Jim Hill
The clock that stands in front of Zion First National Bank at the corner of 100 and Main St. in downtown Salt Lake City, March 19, 2022.

Some of Utah’s state and federal lawmakers like what they see with a national bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent.

The U.S. Senate recently passed the measure. It would mean darker mornings and more sunlight in the evenings year-round.

State Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, supports the idea and is glad Congress is finally acting. In fact, he sponsored a Daylight Saving Time bill in 2020 that became law. It lets Utah move to permanent Daylight Saving Time if four Western states do the same and Congress approves it.

“We're still in status quo, but I guess the best thing to say is there is hope that there will be an eventual resolution of this now, rather than it just being put on the shelf,” Harper said.

Right now, federal law only allows states to go on Standard Time permanently, which is what Arizona and Hawaii have done.

For Rep. John Curtis, R-UT, the Senate’s bill is an obvious thing to support.

“Clearly, states should be able to do this,” he said. “So, this is an easy decision for me.”

Fellow Utah Republican Rep. Burgess Owens echoes that sentiment. He co-sponsored previous legislation with Rep. Chris Stewart, R-UT, that would have allowed states to choose to go to permanent Daylight Saving Time.

“I would fully support ending the outdated tradition of ‘spring forward’ and 'fall back’ and hope to see it come to the House Floor,” Owens said in a statement to KUER.

Since the Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent, there’s been a lot of passionate debate over the merits of Daylight Saving Time versus Standard Time, which has earlier sunrises. Proponents of more light in the morning say they’re worried about kids waiting for school buses in the dark.

On the other hand, some folks say they’d enjoy more light in the evenings after getting off work.

Curtis said he’s “Team Consistency.”

“I don't know anyone that likes the back and forth,” he said. “You'll get some that can make an argument on both sides of this. But nobody likes the back and forth.”

As for Harper, he said he’ll be “relieved” if Congress can put this issue to bed.

“This will be one less item that I will get a flood of calls on,” he said. “Twice a year this comes up, and I will enjoy focusing on another issue that I can help my constituents with.”

The bill still needs to pass the House and be signed by the president to become law. It would take effect in November 2023.

Produced with assistance from the Public Media Journalists Association Editor Corps funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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