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Here's why Utah's new Daylight Saving Time bill won't take effect yet

Posted at 11:38 AM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 16:29:29-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to end the back-and-forth of Daylight Saving Time has passed the Utah State Legislature, but Utahns will still need to adjust their clocks because the bill can't take effect yet.

On Wednesday, the legislature passed a bill to keep those clocks all on one time, all year round.

The House voted 70-1 to pass Senate Bill 59 Wednesday morning. It is the final vote in the legislature, and the bill now goes to Governor Gary Herbert for his signature or veto.

"Most of the rest of the world does not do this thing," Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, said while arguing for the bill.

S.B. 59 would have Utah "spring ahead and stay ahead," meaning it would stay lighter, later in the day. But first, Congress would need to approve it. The bill also calls for at least four other Western states to pass similar measures.

Nevada, Oregon and Washington have already passed similar bills, but Washington and Oregon won't change to Daylight Saving Time unless California jumps on board.

"The State of Utah is stuck in making any decision," Utah Congressman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said during an interview with Fox 13 Wednesday.

While the federal government allows states to change times every six months, or stick with standard time for the entire year, the government does not allow states to observe Daylight Saving Time permanently year-round.

Rep. Bishop introduced federal legislation last year that would give states the power to do what they want. It has yet to move out of committee. He said it could be discussed as early as this fall, or it might take longer.

"It could drag out to end of this year, in which case it wouldn't take effect until next year or a couple years after that," he said.

That means time could keep ticking away, with no change for the State of Utah.

Bills to end the changing of the clocks have been attempted before in the state legislature, but have always failed to pass. Despite being one of the top constituent complaints lawmakers get, it is one of the lowest priority bills.

Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, sponsored a substitute to have it "lighter earlier" but it failed in the House after numerous lawmakers stood to oppose it.

In a clock shop in Holladay, Daylight Saving Time is sometimes a topic of conversation. On Wednesday, that topic was pretty timely.

"Over time, people have come in and [said], 'I wish they would just leave it alone,' and things like that,'" Mt. Olympus Clock Shop owner Norm Reckseck said.

The idea of doing away with the back-and-forth time change is exciting for Reckseck.

"That is nice to be the same all year long," he said.