Categories: NewsPolitics

Time Continuum: Wyoming wants to make DST year-round

JACKSON, Wyo. — Wyoming is again trying to eliminate seasonal time changes in adopting a permanent Daylight Saving Time, but, like in years past, that effort faces an uphill battle.

For starters, Rep. Dan Laursen’s bill has been shot down every time he’s tried it. But it is making progress. Last year, it passed the House for the first time only to fail in the Senate on a deadlocked 15-15 vote.

In 2018, the House voted down the bill 27-32. Laursen’s effort in 2017 never made it out of committee, and in 2016 the House never made time to consider it.

The proposed legislation would have Wyoming adopt a permanent DST. The plan would be to extend daylight hours during the winter as well as the summer. So, for example, come November 1, 2020, when everyone in Wyoming would have turned its clocks back one hour and sunset would go from 6:16 p.m. on October 31, we would just stay right there instead of going to bed the following day to a sunset at 5:15 p.m.

Time changes of either kind have their proponents and opponents. Both have been linked to myriad health and social issues from sleep disorders, to increased risk of heart attack and stroke, to a spike in vehicular accidents. Studies abound on springing forward syndromes, linking the ‘lost hour’ to stock market losses, lower test scores, as well as an increase in workplace injury and suicide rates.

An idea to eliminate clock adjustments altogether has been gaining traction in recent years. At least 26 state legislatures debated the topic in 2019 but individual states can’t agree on whether they want Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time to be the rule. They just know they are sick of moving the clocks forward and back every year.

What it would take

Nine states pushed legislation last year to stay on Standard Time—Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas. Another nine states, including Wyoming, want to adopt a year-round DST—Colorado, Iowa, Maine, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. Some states, like Minnesota, Mississippi, and New Mexico, will do either.

Unlike switching to permanent standard time, moving to Daylight Saving Time year-round requires approval from Congress. Several states have already passed a law to make this switch but Congress has not yet acted even though President Trump has said in the past he doesn’t mind if states want to do their own thing regarding time changes.

Wyoming’s law would only become law if Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Montana also agreed. The Utah Senate just passed a bill to make DST permanent by a 25-2 vote. It awaits a House vote. In Colorado, where they’ve tried both ways, a bill is moving slowly through the Senate that would permanently implement DST.

Montana and Idaho appear to be the holdup, however. Both states are pushing legislation the other way to end DST, though either of those efforts have come close to passing.

Wyoming’s bill (HB44) is co-sponsored by two local lawmakers­—Rep. Mike Yin and Sen. Mike Gierau. It awaits a vote of the House floor at first reading. That has not yet been scheduled.

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