Utahns lost an hour of sleep over the weekend with Daylight Saving Time, a twice yearly disruptive change of the clocks that at least one state lawmaker has proposed putting an end to — eventually.
Rep. Marsha Judkins, R-Provo, is the sponsor of the resolution that supports an effort by Utah Congressman Rob Bishop to give states the option to decide whether or not to make Daylight Saving Time permanent.
Current time changes require federal approval, and only a few states, like Arizona and Hawaii, have bucked the time toggle altogether.
Judkins said research shows that going back and forth can have a number of negative effects on society.
“They [scientists] have found that there are increased heart attacks, epileptic seizures, strokes, car accidents, decreased productivity at work — there’s just a host of health and social issues that occur because of the time change,” said Judkins.
The freshman Republican is only the latest sponsor of an effort that has been in discussion for years at the Utah Legislature. Nearly every year, a lawmaker takes up the baton to end the unpopular time shift — only to see it peter out by the end of the session.
Judkins’ original bill proposed putting a non-binding question to voters in 2020, but with time running out this session, she changed it to a resolution to win wider support.
At a Monday committee hearing, Republicans noted the good timing, coming right after lawmakers lost an hour of sleep as they head into the final days of the legislative session.
“It’s a states’ rights issue. It’s the opportunity for Congress to give us all three choices, and then we can have a real discussion about which of those three choices we want as a state,” said Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, who sponsored a similar bill last year.
Giving the bill an extra boost, perhaps, was a tweet on Monday by President Donald Trump supporting a move to make Daylight Saving Time permanent.
Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2019
“Well, ya know, any support is good support,” Judkins said of the Tweet, laughing. “That might be the impetus needed to get this through.”
The bill cleared committee, 6-1, but will need to clear both chambers to proceed.
Note: This post has been updated to correct the spelling of Rep. Marsha Judkins' first name.