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Utah State Sen. wants Utah out of Daylight Saving Time

SALT LAKE CITY — If you are tired of springing forward and falling back, two Utah lawmakers hear you.

State Sen. Wayne Harper and Rep. Marsha Judkins are crafting a legislative bill for the 2020 Legislative Session that would make daylight saving time the law in Utah, year round.

Nothing can happen unless four other states in Utah’s region do the same thing. And, the federal government also has to approve.

Lawmakers in Utah have been talking about choosing Daylight Saving or Daylight Standard Time, and sticking to one of them, for decades. But Rep. Judkins says there may be a global shift.

“I am very optimistic,” Rep Judkins told KSL Newsradio. “Looking at what’s happening even outside the United States, there’s been a real movement to stop changing the clocks.”

She’s referring to a vote by the European Union in March, 2019, to have a permanent summer or winter time. That legislation has the timeshifts ending in 2021. The change is also dependent on whether or not the United Kingdom exits from the European Union.

Here in the U.S., there is momentum behind choosing a time and sticking to it, pushed by physicians and educators.

“There are so many people that really have a hard time adjusting to the time change,” Judkins says.  “It really does have an effect on our physical health and our mental health.”

While at least two recent studies have shown a slight increase in heart attacks when the time changes, the more important concern for researchers has been how changing the clocks affects our sleep cycles.

Research published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews found that a twice-yearly change in time can impact our sleep cycle for up to a week at a time.

But what about that “extra” hour of sleep we get when the clocks fall back?

Researchers say that just doesn’t happen.

Rep. Judkins tried to get a question on the ballot that asked Utahns in which time they’d prefer to remain. “That didn’t make it out of the session, last session.”

But she says that based on correspondence with her constituents, most people just want to stop changing the clock.  Of those who have a preference, that preference is to remain in Daylight Saving time.

Right now, U.S. law says that states can stay in Standard Time if they so choose and that’s what Hawaii and Arizona have done. But a state that wants to switch to Daylight Saving Time has a long row to hoe.

“It’s interesting because state legislators have the same constituents that our federal delegations have,” Judkins said, “and yet the Congress treats it as if it’s a minor issue or a non-issue.

“But there are so many states that have legislation pending on this because people really want to see a change.  So somehow there’s been a disconnect between the constituents and the federal level.”

Utah State Sen. Wayne Harper’s new bill proposes a change to Utah’s involvement in switching the time twice a year only under two conditions: the federal government must allow it, and four other states in the Mountain Time Zone also decide to change.