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Time for debate
State to vote on daylight-saving time
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If you wish daylight-saving time would always stay and never go away, your days may get brighter.
Tennessee will spring forward March 9 but will not fall back in November, if state Rep. Curry Todd gets his wish. The legislation has cleared its first hurdle toward passage in the General Assembly.
Todd, sponsor of HB1909, was quoted in the Knoxville News Sentinel as saying, “It will be great for the farmers. It will be great for the school kids. I’ve talked to many businesses and folks across the state about this, and I’ve not got one negative comment about this bill.”
As amended in the House State Government Subcommittee, the bill simply maintains that Tennessee will drop out of the ritual of moving clocks forward an hour each year on the second Sunday in March, then back again on the first Sunday in November. The bill would take effect July 1 and, since daylight-saving time will be in place on that date, it will then be permanent, Todd said.
Federal law allows states to make such moves as long as the state covers two time zones, as Tennessee does. The Eastern Time Zone is in effect in East Tennessee and the Central Time Zone covers Middle and West Tennessee.
Arizona, Hawaii and Indiana have successfully adopted a uniform time system with no changes by season, Todd said, and Tennessee should do the same.
The bill was approved with just two negative votes — from Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar.
Haynes said during the discussion of the bill that Todd should just move Middle and West Tennessee into the Eastern Time Zone.
Haynes said he posted on Facebook after the subcommittee vote asking for comments on whether Tennessee should move to daylight-saving time permanently. The resulting comments ran about 70 percent for permanent daylight saving-time and 30 percent against, Todd said.
“It boils down to this: Do you like it lighter in the morning when you wake up or do you like it lighter in the evening?” Haynes said.
The bill is scheduled for a vote this week in the full House State Government Committee, which Haynes chairs.
The state of Arizona, excluding the Navajo Indian Reservation, has not observed daylight saving-time for about 40 years. The reason the Indian reservation observes the time change is because it stretches across four states.
It means Arizona is in the same time zone as Denver from November to March, but then falls behind Denver to be on Los Angeles time from March to November.
The history of daylight saving is tied to energy conservation. Switching to daylight-saving time in the summer means more sunlight at night, which in turn means homes don’t have to turn on lights as early.
According to the U.S. Government, that leads to energy and fuel savings.
Over the course of the last 100 years, the United States (including Arizona) has gone on daylight-saving time in both World War I and World War II, but then gone off after the wars were over.
In 1973, a more permanent federal law was enacted to help with the oil shortages of that time. But Arizona asked for – and was eventually granted an exemption.
According to an Arizona Republic editorial from 1969, the reason was the state’s extreme heat. If Arizona were to observe daylight-saving time, the sun would stay out until 9 p.m. in the summer instead of 8 p.m.
Daylight-saving time is set to begin at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 9, and end at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 9.