Editorial:

Time change proposal isn’t a waste of time

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It can be tough to change habits, especially ones that have been around for a century.

In a tradition tracing back to 1918, we Americans faithfully switch our clocks forward an hour in the spring, then back an hour in the fall. We follow the practice, well, like clockwork.

However, the data suggests it’s high time to rethink the practice.

Studies have shown that any energy savings are minuscule at best. In fact, a 2008 study concluded daylight saving time actually increases residential electricity demand. Other studies have shown adverse effects of changing the clock, including an increase in heart attacks and traffic accidents.

The disruption in sleep schedules can be especially hard on the elderly and children (and their parents who had hoped to enjoy an extra hour of sleep).

So, why does Wyoming keep changing its clocks each spring and fall?

One good reason is to stay in line with other states.

However, our neighbors are mulling whether we should put an end to the twice-a-year time changes, and Wyoming has a chance to lead the charge toward ending the practice in the West.

A measure long championed by Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell, has gained ground in the Wyoming Legislature this year. Laursen’s proposal — House Bill 14 — calls for keeping daylight saving time year-round, but only if at least three neighboring states do the same.

After clearing the House on a 35-23 vote, the bill won unanimous support from the Senate’s agriculture committee on Feb. 1. The measure now awaits further action in the Senate; if it moves forward, the legislation then needs the governor’s signature. Ultimately, the federal government would have to sign off on the switch.

While the proposal still faces hurdles, we don’t think it’s a waste of time, especially considering that it impacts the life of every single Wyomingite.

Yes, lawmakers face more important issues, but a lot of residents care about the time change — and are ready to see the practice come to an end in Wyoming and elsewhere.

“I probably get more calls and emails and conversation about daylight savings time than almost any other issue that comes up in meaningful conversation with people inside and outside my district,” said Rep. Christy Zito, an Idaho Republican who is proposing to do away with the time change there, according to Boise State Public Radio.

The Idaho proposal would keep that state on standard time, but we think Wyoming’s measure to keep daylight saving time year-round makes more sense. After all, it’s what we already follow eight months out of the year — or 65 percent of the time.

During warm months, the extra hour of daylight in the evening is especially appreciated by those who enjoy being outside, whether you go on a walk, head to the golf course, mow the lawn or simply enjoy a summer night on the porch.

Though our neighbors to the north recently nixed a time change bill in Montana, the effort has shown some signs of gaining traction, and lawmakers in Utah are discussing whether to keep daylight saving time year-round there.

We hope Wyoming moves forward with the measure and neighboring states follow suit — or better yet, that U.S. Congress lets the sun set on time changes altogether.

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