Time Zone Report inquired of Representative Lee Perry and Senator Aaron Osmond regarding their two separate items on the Utah legislative agenda.
One bill, filed yesterday January 27, 2015, is House Bill 178 filed by Senator Lee Perry. Sen. Perry’s bill would exempt the entire state from the observance of Daylight Saving Time. If this bill passes, Utah would simply stop doing the “spring forward, fall back” routine every year.
The other legislation, filed earlier in January, is a Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR 1)asking the US Department of Transportation to change Utah’s time zone from Mountain Standard Time to Central Standard Time. If US DOT approves this request, Utah would essentially “permanently more the clocks forward an hour” — the equivalent of doing one final “spring forward” to the equivalent of Central Standard Time, and then stay there.
When asked whether Utah would pursue SCR 1 even if HB 178 passed, Sen. Osmond replied, “We are planning one or the other, not both. If Rep. Lee’s bill makes it through the house, I will pull my bill to stay on DST permanently.”
This is an interesting choice of words on Sen. Osmond’s part, as it highlights the fact that he is aware that current US Code doesn’t not permit any state to opt in to a “Year-Round DST”. States can only opt totally out, or opt in to the country-wide standard DST starting on the second Sunday of March and ending on the first Sunday of November. His bill would essentially accomplish the same thing, without going against the US Code.
Legislators in several states — including Mississippi and Florida — have introduced legislation in 2015 to go on Year-Round DST, in spite of the legal issues. Other states have considered similar bills in prior years, but because of the conflict with US Code, they are killed in committee and never come before the legislature to vote.
Washington state legislators, however, are considering a House Joint Memorial (HJM 4001) requesting Congress and the President to amend 15 USC Subchapter IX “Standard Time” to permit states to adopt the Year-Round DST designation. If Congress were to make the requested change, states could opt for Year-Round DST — legally.