Opting Out of Daylight Saving TimeNov 03, 2016 10:02AM ● By Bryan Scott
SALT LAKE CITY – On Sunday, November 6, Daylight Saving Time will end, Utahns will turn their clocks back one-hour losing an hour of daylight in the evening. Rep. Norm Thurston, district 64, has drafted legislation for the upcoming 2017 General Session to allow the public to formally weigh in on ending the changing of the clocks ritual. The bill would send this issue directly to Utahns to vote on – in the next general election – whether to end participation in Daylight Saving Time or continue the bi-annual time switch.
“This is a perennial issue at the legislature and constituents want a definitive action taken,” said Rep. Thurston. “We have invested a lot of resources gathering public input, but have not mustered the political will to do anything. Now it is time to let Utahns voice their opinion in an official capacity so we can end this discussion once and for all.”
In a non-scientific survey conducted by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, 66.5 percent of respondents want to continually fall back and do away with changing the clocks. Only 15.4 percent of respondents wanted to keep the current system.
“Changing the clocks in the spring and fall has real impacts on physical and emotional health and productivity," said Rep. Thurston. “This is the most frequently raised concern for my constituents and am I sure for many legislators. The people who are affected by the changing clocks really have a hard time and they make their voices heard. I hear most often from parents with special needs children and from adults with health issues that are sensitive to changes in routine.”
Daylight Saving Time was established throughout the United States by the Uniform Time Act of 1966. The law also granted each state the right to opt out of DST without federal approval and two have done so – Hawaii and Arizona. Lawmakers in Alaska and nearly a dozen other states are debating similar measures.
If Utah decides to join Arizona and opt out of Daylight Saving Time, the sun would come up earlier in the morning and set earlier in the evening during the summer season.
Rep. Thurston said, “Businesses, employers and others would be free to adjust their opening and closing times and work schedules to start and end earlier if they wish.”