An article on the Michigan Capital Confidential web site mentions a new bill introduced in Michigan, HB 4986, which proposes to abolish DST in the state while also asking the governor to request the US DOT to move the state to the eastern time zone. This bill is slated for the current 2015 legislative session.
I wrote to the bill’s sponsor, Representative Peter Lucido, indicating I think this is an excellent bill:
Having read your bill, I applaud you for the approach you have taken. Section 1 asking the governor to petition the US DOT is exactly the appropriate process to follow, as I’m sure you and your staff have learned through research and communication with them. Further, Section 2, in my opinion, “does the right thing” as an interim measure, but allowing the state to “opt out” of DST.
I did mention one small potential flaw in the bill as written, however:
I do have one minor concern: the timing of the 90 day effective date, if enacted, could put the state’s computer and communications infrastructure at risk. For example, if this legislation was enacted in January 2016 (or even in late December 2015, if the legislature was so inclined), the effective date might come AFTER the beginning of DST on March 13, 2016. Essentially, your bill as worded would permit the state to go on DST on Sunday March 13, then go off of DST on whatever day the 90-day clause would fall on.
I would suggest to reword lines 9-10 to read something like: “This act takes effect on Saturday, March 12, 2016, unless this bill is enacted after December 31, 2015, in which case this act will take effect on Saturday, March 11, 2017.”
Legislators need to be aware of the timing of their legislation, and also give the computer and communications infrastructure folks plenty of time to implement the changes required state-wide. Changing the rules — by deciding not to change the time when most of the rest of the US goes to DST — can have unintended negative consequences in areas like healthcare.