Rep. Kevin West Legislation Would Address Time Change

Mar 11, 2024
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Feeling sleep-deprived after Sunday's bi-annual time change pushed clocks forward an hour?

Don't blame Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore.

West authored House Bill 2217, which would send to a vote of the people a question on whether to adopt permanent standard time in Oklahoma. The measure was filed last year and assigned to the House Rules Committee but has not been heard. It is similar to legislation he's filed in the past.

"I've heard from numerous constituents, parents and business owners over the course of my legislative service that there is a strong desire to stop this twice yearly time change," West said. "The only way to accomplish that is to switch to permanent standard time. I have a measure in place that would put this to a vote of the people, but we have to have the legislative will to ask the question."

West held an interim study last fall to raise awareness among legislators about the history of daylight saving time and to detail the benefits of moving the state to permanent standard time. He invited experts to discuss the science of time change and the detriments of changing the clock twice yearly.

West said he's been asked why the state doesn't just adopt permanent daylight saving time year-round instead of standard time. Federal regulations, however, specify states can exempt themselves from daylight saving time but not standard time.

Some states have sought a waiver to be allowed to adopt daylight saving time year-round but without success. West also pointed to the Sunshine Protection Act in Congress, which would make daylight saving time permanent, but the act has not passed the last two years, and exemptions for some states would still remain.

States that choose not to opt out of daylight saving time are required to set their clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. the second Sunday of March each year and back an hour at 2 a.m. the first Sunday of November.

The U.S. Congress first implemented daylight saving time through the Standard Time Act in 1918 during World War I as a way to "add" more daylight hours to conserve energy. The act also established five time zones across the U.S. The Uniform Time Act in 1966 mandated the country use daylight saving time but allowed states to opt out and to stay on standard time year-round.

The thought behind daylight saving time is that by setting the clocks back an hour in November, more daylight time is gained in the early mornings. When an hour is added in March, more daylight is gained in the evenings.

Permanent daylight saving time was enacted in 1974, but Oklahoma and other states petitioned the federal government to repeal it because of problems caused by it being dark until after 8 a.m. in the winter. There were complaints of children going to school in the dark and employees starting the work day before the sun rose. The permanent act was repealed in 1975.

West said there are additional concerns such as health-related risks, increased auto accidents and work-related injuries that rise when daylight comes after people start their day.

West said he's received an enormous amount of positive feedback from Oklahomans who support not having to change the clock twice yearly, specifically noting the time it takes to adjust to the change. West said he'll keep pushing for legislation to put the question before state voters. 

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