Utah Legislature passes daylight saving bill

(Elise Amendola | AP file photo) In this Oct. 30, 2008, file photo, Electric Time Company employee Dan Lamoore adjusts the color on a 67-inch square LED color-changing clock at the plant in Medfield, Mass. The Utah Legislature on Wednesday passed a daylight saving time bill.

Utah lawmakers have agreed on a plan to abolish the clock-changing ritual of daylight saving, voting in favor of the switch after a House floor debate that pitted night owls against early birds.

A bill to put Utah permanently on Mountain Daylight Time — or summertime hours — cleared the Utah House on Wednesday with only one dissenting vote and will become law if Gov. Gary Herbert signs it. However, even it it receives this final endorsement, the proposal won’t take effect until federal law changes to give the state the daylight time option and until at least four other Western states pass similar legislation.

This latter provision “acknowledges that people are rightfully nervous about being out of sync with their neighboring states,” said Rep. Ray Ward, who presented SB59 to the House chamber.

Polling shows broad support for moving to a year-round time, the Bountiful Republican said, adding that most people who favor that change would prefer to stay on summertime hours that give them a bit more sunlight in the evening. Others, however, would rather have the extra sunlight in the morning, said Rep. Robert Spendlove, who tried to persuade his colleagues to adopt year-round Mountain Standard Time instead.

“There are two kinds people: There are runners, and there are gamers. The runners like to get up with the sun, and the gamers like to stay up until the sun comes up,” said Spendlove, R-Sandy, adding that his district seems to be heavily populated by runners.

His move got support from a handful of colleagues, including Rep. Joel Ferry, R-Brigham City, who spoke on behalf of early-rising farmers, and Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, who spoke on behalf of his early-rising wife. But it proved unpopular with the majority of his colleagues, who decided to stick with Ward’s proposal for Mountain Daylight Time.

Daylight saving bills have been appearing in the Legislature for years, and Rep. Jeff Stenquist said he hoped the passage of SB59 would finally lay the matter to rest.

“Colleagues, I plead with you to vote for this bill so that we don’t ever have to have another daylight saving time bill come up in front of this body,” the Draper Republican said.