It’s about time, literally: The state is hosting a forum to let the public debate and vote whether to keep switching to and from daylight saving time twice a year.
It will be held in a place that daily explores time and space: the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City, on July 10 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The state will also take comment on the issue at a rural summit in Cedar City in August. Those who cannot attend the forums may go online to business.utah.gov/time to comment or vote.
The Legislature this year passed HB197 ordering the state to conduct a study and meetings on whether to retain daylight saving time.
Rep. Ronda Menlove, R-Garland, and Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, who pushed the legislation, plan to attend. They already have opened a bill file for possible action next year based on what they hear.
The forums plan to explore three possibilities: keep the current system; align with Arizona to stay on Mountain Standard Time year round; or keep daylight saving time all year.
“Surprisingly, time changes have an economic and educational impact on our state,” Menlove said in a press release.
“Recreation enthusiasts argue that the spring time change brings tourism and recreation dollars into the state coffers, and farmers and ranchers have more daylight time to complete their work,” she said.
But, she added, “Parents and educators argue that the change has a negative impact on student learning at a critical point in the year when end-of –level tests are administered.”
Also, “Public safety officials note an increase in accidents at each change of time,” she said.
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development will conduct the forums. It notes that daylight saving time was first adopted by Germany in World War I to save fuel by replacing artificial light with real light, and switching to it became standard in most states in the mid-1960s.
Currently, Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that do not switch to and from daylight saving time.