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Lawmakers dumped the idea Wednesday of converting to Daylight Saving Time year-round as a way to avoid switching to and from it in the fall and spring.
The Senate Government Operations Committee voted 3-1 to send HCR1 back to the Rules Committee. Members failed to kill the bill outright on a tie 2-2 vote, and also failed to keep it for further consideration on a 2-2 vote.
Technically, federal law currently prohibits any state from keeping Daylight Saving Time year-round. But Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, proposed a creative way to skirt that seeking to have Utah declared part of the Central time zone, and then stay on Central Standard Time all year.
His resolution would order the state to file an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation seeking the change.
Because of a bill passed last year, the state allowed residents to comment on the topic. More than 27,000 responded, and the vast majority preferred to stop the current twice-a-year time switch.
"I've never seen that many people respond to a public-comment opportunity," Osmond said.
He added that his proposal "would stop the back and forth," and preserve "the extra hour of light that we have in the evenings that's important to our families." He said it is favored by many firms that receive extra business with an extra hour of light.
But Jack Duffy of West Jordan noted that the nation briefly attempted year-round Daylight Saving Time in 1974, but reversed it after many children were killed going to school in the dark.
"It would not be light in January until 9 a.m. if this becomes a reality," he said. Also someone on a winter road trip, under the proposal, "would have to set their clock an hour ahead at the Colorado border [coming into Utah], and two hours back when they hit the Nevada border."
The Utah Department of Transportation also warned that federal officials would require extensive studies on economic impacts of carving out a hole in the normal Mountain time zone which it said could be expensive for the state.
Another proposal for changing Daylight Saving is still alive. HB178 by Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, would keep Utah on Mountain Standard Time all year, matching what Arizona does.
That proposal was actually preferred by a majority of people who commented on the issue to the state last year but opposed by many companies that say it could cost them business in the summer.