Every fall and spring the cries of people in support of or against daylight saving time (DST) ring out as millions of clocks shift one hour. At the just completed legislative session it was decided it is time for the voices of Utah residents to be heard. To facilitate this, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) was tasked by the legislature to host a public forum to collect resident input.

A public forum will be held at the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City on July 10 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. This meeting will provide the public with the opportunity to explore all sides of the DST argument in a place that celebrates time and space. Current bill sponsor, Representative Menlove and Senator Osmand who has a bill file open for possible action during the next legislative session will be on hand to receive comment. In order to give rural residents the opportunity to comment on the DST issue, surveys will also be taken at the rural summit in Cedar City in August.

Those who are unable to attend the public forums can go online to business.utah.gov/time and comment/vote whether or not Utah should continue DST as is or adjust it. Parents, senior citizens and representatives from agricultural, public education, recreation and business communities are all encouraged to contribute to the discussion.

The following three possibilities for daylight saving time will be explored through the website and the forums:

1.    Retain existing “spring forward” and “fall back” time as currently followed in Utah and nationally
2.    Align with Arizona on Mountain Standard Time for all 12 months of the year (e.g. fall back)
3.    Create a new daylight saving time, e.g. spring forward for all 12 months of the year

“Surprisingly, time changes have an economic and educational impact on our state,” said Representative Ronda Menlove. “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. However, parents and educators argue that the change has a negative impact on student learning at a critical point in the school year when end-of-level tests are administered. Public Safety officials note an increase in accidents at each change of time. This issue needs to be properly weighed and debated in order to arrive at the best outcome for the most residents.”

Daylight saving time was first adopted by Germany during World War I in an effort to save fuel for the war effort by replacing artificial light with real light.  In the mid-1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act that standardized beginning and end time for DST in the U.S. The purpose of DST was to provide an extra hour of daylight during normal waking hours, with the intention that this would reduce electricity usage and lead to fewer traffic accidents in the evening. Currently Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that don’t use the DST system.

If you have a strong opinion or just a personal preference regarding DST, go to business.utah.gov/time to let state officials know what you think. The comments and votes collected from the forums will be turned over to the legislature, who will then decide how to proceed with the larger question moving forward.

“I compliment GOED for taking this discussion seriously and designing a public input process that will allow the residents of Utah to voice their opinions regarding Daylight Saving Time,” said Menlove. “By creating opportunities to attend the forum or comment on the website, GOED is giving citizens an opportunity to be heard.”