SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawmaker wants the state to become the third in the nation to opt out of daylight saving time, saying the practice has a negative impact on children, the elderly and some people with disabilities.
Rep. Jim Nielson said the semiannual changing of the clocks causes kids to lose out on sleep and can be stressful for senior citizens and people with autism.
"The most vulnerable people in our society are the ones who are impacted," said Nielson, R-Bountiful, the sponsor of House Bill 199.
While the change is not required by the federal government, Nielson said it is still a heavy-handed law because states have to proactively decide not to follow the law.
Under federal law, daylight time begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ends the first Sunday of November in areas that do not specifically exempt themselves. Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that do not observe daylight saving time.
A similar bill in 2010 failed to pass a Utah legislative committee. Lawmakers at the time said they didn't see a compelling reason for the change. There also have been unsuccessful efforts to change the law in other states, including Colorado and Nebraska.
Nielson said the opposition often comes from people who find the time change convenient, such as outdoor enthusiasts, as well as people who are uncomfortable with change.
"Whenever anybody suggests doing something different, people don't like it," he said.
Utah, however, is a good candidate to opt out because it's located on the western edge of the Mountain Time Zone, Nielson said. That means in some parts of the state, the sun doesn't set until after 10 p.m. during the summer, he said.