It’s something legislative staffers, researchers, and legislators say citizens talk about, ask about, and complain about more than any issue. Daylight saving time. Monday, the state legislature took a step toward doing something about it.
House Joint Resolution 15 had a hearing Monday. The House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee discussed the measure and decided to pass it forward. By taking that action, lawmakers agreed Utah should endorse and support efforts in the U.S. Congress, to allow states to determine whether they choose to stay on daylight saving time or opt out.
The federal government first ordered Americans to change their clocks near the end of World War One. The idea was to save energy, to devote it to the war effort. After the war, early-to-rise Americans were tired of the rule and pressured their Congressmen to change it. The Daylight and Energy Saving Measure was repealed.
President Franklin Delenor Roosevelt brought it back during WWII, in 1919, calling it “War Time.” It ended with the end of the war, and confusion began.
The transportation industry lobbied the Congress to bring some sort of order to the way Americans told time, citing dozens of time zones across the U.S., including seven time changes along a 35 mile stretch of Route 2 through Moundsville, West Virginia, and Steubenville, Ohio. Congress decided it was time for change. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law what we now know as Daylight Saving Time.
Fast forward to today, when a new movement appears to be underway, to stop America’s clock-changing ways.
“Over 30 states have over 60 pieces of legislation this year,” says Representative Marsha Judkins of Provo.
She’s a full-time mother and full-time college professor who says she sees the adverse effects of daylight saving time on young people. Her re-written version of HJR 15 would support Utah Congressman Rob Bishop’s bill in the U.S. House, which would recognize and honor states’ rights to choose whether to continue on DST or abandon the practice.
For Congressman Bishop, it’s a states’ rights issue. For Judkins, it’s a public health dilemma. She says she is hearing from medical professionals, teachers, and parents who list the adverse effects of losing sleep because of the time change.
“There’s increased depression. There’s lower productivity. There are increased car accidents. There’s increased heart attacks, and seizures,” Judkins says.
ABC4.com suggested to the legislator that our digital devices can make the time change for us, automatically.
Her answer: “Your digital devices do it by themselves, but your brain doesn’t, and your circadian rhythms don’t. So that’s the problem.”