ST. GEORGE — Following its passage in the Utah Senate on Feb. 11, the bill that would make Utah stay on Daylight Saving Time year-round passed the House on Thursday almost unanimously and has been sent to Gov. Gary Herbert for enrolling.
However, that doesn’t make it official just yet. The bill, designated as SB 59 in the 2020 Utah Legislature and sponsored by Taylorsville Sen. Wayne Harper and House Rep. Raymond Ward, has two stipulations.
“This is a simple bill,” Ward said Thursday on the floor of the House. “It does just one thing, and it does it when two conditions are met. … It changes Utah permanently to Daylight Saving Time – that is the summer schedule where we already spend two-thirds of our time every year – and it does it as soon as … one, Congress allows that to take place, and two, (when) four other Western states also make that same switch to permanent Daylight Saving Time.”
When SB 59 was in the Utah Senate, where it passed by a vote of 25-2, Harper said that several other surrounding states were considering the switch – including Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico and Colorado – and that Oregon and Washington have adopted similar contingency bills. California had one vote left before they adopted the change.
As far as congressional approval, Harper also stated that bills were already in the works, including legislation from Utah Congressman Rob Bishop.
Harper said that the majority of people would prefer to stay on Daylight Saving Time, something which was repeated Thursday by Ward. However, in a previous report from St. George News, Southern Utah Sens. Don Ipson and David Hinkins, who were the only two dissenting votes on the bill in the Senate, said they have received mixed reactions from their constituents.
“I surveyed my Senate district, and it was almost evenly split,” Ipson told St. George News, adding that it was almost equal thirds between leaving the system alone, staying on Mountain Standard Time year-round or switching to Daylight Saving Time.
During the House debate Thursday, a substitute bill was proposed to stay on Mountain Standard Time year-round instead of Daylight Saving Time. From the stated benefits this would have for farmers versus the detriments to the elderly, the proposed substitute, which was labeled as “the least popular of all the options” by Provo Rep. Norman Thurston, was ultimately defeated by a vote of 6-51.
Following defeat of the substitution, the Utah House passed the original bill Thursday by a vote of 70-1-4, with all Southern Utah representatives voting in favor of the bill except Rep. Travis Seegmiller, who was marked as one of the four “absent or not voting.”
For a complete list of contacts for Southern Utah representatives and senators, click here.
Check out all of St. George News’ coverage of the 2020 Utah Legislature here.
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