Here’s a consolidated look at the current status of all state legislation relating to Daylight Saving Time in the 2015 legislative sessions. See our web site at http://TimeZoneReport.com for up-to-date full details on each state’s legislation and status.
Note About Year-Round DST
Some states are considering Year-Round DST as an option. Unfortunately, US Code only gives states two options:
- Opt out of DST entirely (stay on Standard Time year-round), or
- Start DST on the second Sunday of March and end it the first Sunday of November.
There is no legal option to select Year-Round DST at this time. See summaries below for states that are considering this, and their approaches, which vary significantly.
Although legislation was expected from Alabama to pursue Year-Round DST, Senator Rusty Glover told Time Zone Report last Friday that he would not be submitting a bill after being “ informed by our Governor’s office that we in the state legislature cannot enact a bill of this nature“. The state acknowledges that Congress has to act before this legislation can proceed.
With three bills in the legislature, it’s looking promising that Alaska will drop DST, with the only question being “when”. Two bills, one in the House and another in the Senate, are proposing to exempt the state from DST starting January 1, 2017. Another bill in the Senate proposes a start date of January 1, 2016.
A bill early in January proposed to adopt DST in the state, even though the state has operated DST-free since 1968. After hearing from Arizona citizens, the sponsor withdrew the bill, and Arizona will not adopt DST after all.
A Florida Senator has proposed to adopt Year-Round DST. As of 1/28, the bill has been referred to several committees, with no actions yet taken. In light of the note about Year-Round DST above, Time Zone Report believes this bill will eventually be killed by the Rules committee.
A few weeks ahead of Florida’s bill, a Mississippi Senator proposed to adopt Year-Round DST. On 1/15 the bill was referred to state’s Senate Rules Committee, with no actions yet taken, according to the bill’s tracking page. In light of the note about Year-Round DST above, Time Zone Report believes this bill will eventually be killed by the Rules committee.
A senate bill proposes to ask the voters to approve or reject an amendment to abolish DST in Oregon. The referendum would occur “at the next general election”, and if approved, would take effect January 1, 2021.
There are two bills before the Texas House of Representatives. One would abolish DST in the state, with an effective date of September 1, 2015. Since this effective date is in the middle of the DST period, Time Zone Report believes it is unlikely this bill would be approved as written. It should be modified to have an effective date on January 1 of a given year, if it is to be considered. According to the bill’s tracking page, no action has occurred with this bill since it was filed 11/10/2014.
The second bill, filed 11/24/2014, would create “a task force to conduct a study and develop recommendations on the efficacy of the continuation of daylight saving time in this state”. This approach is similar to what Utah approved in 2014. Though there has been no action taken on this bill since filing, Time Zone Report believes this bill has a good chance of being approved, paving the way for successfully dropping DST in Texas with legislation next year.
Here’s where it gets interesting! Utah has two pieces of legislation:
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 requests the US Department of Transportation (which oversees time zone designation in the US) to move the state from Mountain Standard Time to Central Standard Time, at which time the state will drop DST and remain on Central Standard year-round. This would have the same effect as staying in the Mountain time zone, but observing Year-Round DST.
- House Bill 178 would exempt Utah from DST starting this year, in 2015. If this bill passes, Utah will join its neighbor to the south, Arizona, in “just leaving the clocks where they are”.
Time Zone Report learned from SCR 1’s sponsor, Senator Aaron Osmond, that it would be “one or the other, not both”. If the legislature approves abolishing DST, he would pull his bill to request a change in the state’s time zone.
The state of Washington has a legislation line-up similar to Utah’s, with two similar pieces of legislation:
- House Joint Memorial 4001 directs the following request to the President and Congress to amend 15 USC Subchapter IX entitled “Standard Time”:
… that Congress allow states to adopt daylight saving time on a year-round basis.
- House Bill 1479 would abolish DST in the state of Washington, but without specifying a date for implementation or effective date.
Time Zone Report has not been able to obtain any additional information from the sponsors, but there are several results possible, in our opinion:
- Of course there is the possibility that none of the legislation is passed, and things stay the way they are now: deadly “spring forward, fall back” transitions continue for the state’s 27 million people.
- HB 1479 passes, abolishing DST, and HJM 4001 fails, leaving the state on Pacific Standard Time year-round.
- HB 1479 passes, abolishing DST for now, and HJM 4001 passes, requesting Congress to permit Year-Round DST. This would stop DST transitions for the time being, and if Congress acts to permit it, Washington state could choose to “spring forward for good” at a future date. Too much to speculate on, but dropping DST (thanks to HB 1470) would be a good thing.
- HB 1479 fails, keeping the state changing clocks twice a year with ongoing DST, and HJM 4001 passes, requesting Congress to permit Year-Round DST. Maybe Congress would act, maybe they wouldn’t. And if they did permit it, maybe future Washington state legislators would try to adopt Year-Round DST, or maybe they wouldn’t. But in the interim, deadly DST transitions would continue in the spring and fall.
Time Zone Report hopes that HB 1479 passes, to stop the deadly DST transitions soon… if not in 2015, then certainly no DST in 2016. Then the uncertainty of what Congress and future Washington state legislators may or may not do won’t matter a lot.
But if legislators get a firm sense from Congress that they would indeed permit Year-Round DST, would it be possible to go onto DST in March 2015 and — with US Congressional permission — simply stay on DST permanently? While that’s an attractive option, it seems like too much to ask.
There’s a lot more going on DST-wise in 2015 than in prior years, and while we’re not encouraged by the fact that no state’s DST legislation has passed before, we think this might be the year the ball gets rolling.
To those who say “our state legislators have more important things to work on”, we say stopping DST transitions is worth the consideration of every state in the US! Why, you ask? Because no other piece of legislation affects every citizen in the state!