First of all, a brief apology for not keeping up-to-date daily. Apparently it’s our turn to suffer colds this week, but we’re on the mend… so here’s the latest, from most recent and going back to the previous Legislative Update last week on Thursday.
Phone Call with US DOT
On the afternoon of Tuesday February 4, I received a call with voice mail from a member of the US Department of Transportation’s Office of the General Counsel. Though he indicated he could not go on record and was not authorized to speak on behalf of the DOT, he did answer some of my questions with his interpretation and opinion on what is and what is not permitted. See information about that phone call in this Time Zone Report post.
Basically, he said nothing surprising to me, and in my mind confirmed that states can only choose to opt out of DST, or opt in to DST as provided in US Code, starting the second Sunday in March and ending the first Sunday in November. He also indicated that it seemed unlikely that the DOT would approve any state’s request to move the entire state into another time zone. But again, that’s not official.
Missouri Jumps In for Year-Round DST
This state’s House Joint Resolution 38 essentially proposes to get voter approval to:
switch clocks to daylight saving for the last time and the use of daylight saving time for public purposes will be eliminated
If the voters approve, this final switch to DST would take place in March of 2017. That last phrase in the quote there is confusing. Missouri is going to Daylight Saving Time, but then eliminating it? Yes, states are trying to be creative in their attempt to circumvent Congress, the US Code, and the Department of Transportation.
South Dakota: In, then Out
Last week, South Dakota’s HB 1127 proposed some weirdly-worded legislation that was apparently intended to put the state on Year-Round DST. As we’ve reported before, all bills with this sort of language have so far been killed in committee, and this one was no different, killed by the State Affairs Committee on Wednesday February 4, 2015.
If you’ve read the state’s update that says the bill is “deferred to the 41st day”, that is just legalese for killing the bill, since by state statute, legislative sessions in SD can only go for 40 days.
Mississippi’s Out, Too
Mississippi’s SB 2180 to go on Year-Round DST was killed by the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday February 3, 2015. Again, no surprise there.
New Mexico Jumped In
Last week New Mexico also jumped into the Year-Round DST mess with what we called “the oddest proposal we’ve seen to date” in our news post. New Mexico’s bill asks the US DOT to move their state from Mountain Time Zone to Central Time Zone, but further goes on to propose that the state call their time Mountain Daylight Saving Time — in spite of the request to move to Central Standard Time.
Committee Activity in Some States
DST bills also saw some activity in Washington, Utah, and Florida, but so far, no indication of the fate of any pending legislation other than dead legislation in South Dakota and Mississippi.
Just to summarize, Time Zone Report believes that any measure proposing to go to Year-Round DST or change a state’s Time Zone will be quashed by the weight of existing federal rules and regulations against it.