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Utah lawmaker wants to kill the clock on daylight saving time
Politics • Bountiful Republican doesn't want feds setting state's clocks.

By David Montero The Salt Lake Tribune

Published December 21, 2011 6:31 pm
This is an archived article that was published on in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
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The sun hasn't set on Utah's attempt to eliminate daylight saving time.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Nielson, R-Bountiful, was unveiled this week to exempt the state from the federal guidelines for setting clocks an hour ahead to create longer days during the summer.

Under Nielson's HB199, Utah would stay on standard time throughout the year and opt out of the federal government's time change — just like Arizona, Hawaii, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Nielson sees it as an example of the federal government imposing on the state's right to set its own clock.

"I don't like it. I never have," Nielson said. "The government says you must change your clock and you must change it on this date? It's heavy-handed."

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, daylight saving time was established by the federal government during World War I as an attempt to save energy to offset factory production of war-related materials.

In 2007, the department changed the duration of daylight saving time by about an extra month to reduce energy consumption. The total number of days that fall under daylight saving time is 238 days — mostly during the summer months.

Energy savings long have been the argument for keeping the time change in effect, though some studies have disputed those claims.

Daylight saving time begins the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

Nielson said the idea was brought to him by a constituent and he noted an additional reason for wanting to abort the time change: It presents a public safety concern for children walking to school in the dark in the early-morning hours during the time change.

The last time the Legislature attempted to eliminate the program was in 2010, when Rep. Ken Sumsion, R-American Fork, proposed a measure. Sumsion, now a Republican candidate challenging Gov. Gary Herbert, failed to get his bill out of committee.

Other states have attempted to opt out of daylight saving, including neighboring Colorado. But that measure stalled in a committee during the 2011 legislative session.

About daylight saving time

Begins • Second Sunday in March

Ends • First Sunday in November

Rebels • The federal government doesn't require U.S. states or territories to observe daylight saving time. Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands do not change their clocks.


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