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Something new under the sun: Utah may dump daylight saving time

Published October 16, 2014 10:19 am

Survey • Poll shows most Utahns favor MST all year, but there could be a variety of economic impacts.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The sun soon may set forever on daylight saving time in Utah.

As the state released a survey showing that the vast majority of Utahns prefer to dump it, Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, said Wednesday that he and Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, are looking at legislation that could end it.

Perry told the Government Operations Interim Committee they may introduce a bill to make Utah stay on Mountain Standard Time all year, matching what Arizona does. "The other idea is we put it on the ballot and let the voters make the decision."



The Legislature last year passed a bill by Rep. Ronda Menlove, R-Garland, instructing the Governor's Office of Economic Development to study what Utahns think about daylight saving time — and to hold public meetings on it.

GOED staged several hearings, huddled with key industries and conducted an unscientific online survey. It had more than 27,000 responses, showing daylight saving is a hot topic.

GOED's Michael O'Malley said Utahns did not simply answer multiple-choice questions, but 13,000 of them left written — often lengthy and passionate — comments.

He said they submitted 574,000 words combined, nearly the number of words in Leo Tolstoy's epic novel "War and Peace."

In the final tally, 67 percent of respondents favor keeping Mountain Standard Time all year. In second place, 18 percent prefer creating a new system to keep daylight saving time all year. In last place, 15 percent preferred to keep the current system of springing forward an hour in the spring, and falling back an hour in the autumn.

"Convenience really stood out" as a reason for supporting year-round Mountain Standard Time, O'Malley said. "People don't want to move their clocks forward, backward. ... They just want to set them and leave them."

Many said the "time change is disruptive to their health," he added. "At-home parents were concerned about kids walking to school in the dark."

On the other hand, O'Malley said, the tourism and recreation industries "love that extra hour in the summertime to pursue their recreation" with sunset not coming until about 9 p.m.

"Lagoon notes they would lose one hour of revenue [daily] in their prime season," he said. "Sports associations would be challenged to fit all their games in a schedule."

Val Hale, GOED's new executive director, said the golf industry "would lose approximately $24 million a year because more golfers are apt to go between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. than they are between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning."

O'Malley said organizations such as the Salt Lake Chamber and Ski Utah also favor the current system, in part to reduce confusion with travelers and tourists by being on a different system than most of the nation.

Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that do not switch to and from daylight saving time.

Some entities urged caution and more study. For example, O'Malley said, the Utah Highway Patrol looked at crash data and found that the time change is not a significant factor in accidents — even though grass-roots comments show they perceive it as a cause for crashes.

O'Malley pointed out that Rocky Mountain Power said temperature, not light, drives power usage, so keeping or dumping daylight time may not play a big role in saving energy.

ldavidson@sltrib.com

 

 

 

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