Wyoming lawmakers consider keeping same time year-round

By: 
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WORLAND, Wyo. (AP) — The time issue is coming back to the Wyoming Legislature for the third straight year.

Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell, has pre-filed House Bill 45. The bill is similar to one that failed to advance out of committee last year and to another that failed to win an introductory vote during the 2016 budget session.

Under Laursen's new proposal, Wyoming would stay in daylight saving time and not revert to standard time from November through February.

"I don't like changing the time. Wyoming needs to step out and be the first to do it," Laursen told the Northern Wyoming Daily News, adding that New England states have started the discussion about stopping the changing of time.

Rep. Mike Greear, R-Worland, was one of the nay votes in committee last year.

For Laursen's bill, Greear said, "One of things that was a determining factor, was the way Wyoming is situated, we would be an isolated time zone for four months of the year" unless neighboring states Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah and Colorado switched to the same time format.

"That would affect when we get our evening news," Greear told the Northern Wyoming Daily News.

One of the suggestions in committee was to have the bill provide for the change contingent upon the neighboring states making a similar change.

Greear said that no one likes the time change and it "screws up everybody. I have people ask me all the time, 'why don't you do something about that?'"

The bill states, "The biannual change of time between mountain standard time and mountain daylight time is disruptive to commerce and to the daily schedules of the residents of the state of Wyoming."

Two states currently do not observe daylight saving time and remain in standard time — Hawaii and Arizona.

Laursen's bill proposes Wyoming staying in daylight saving time all year. According to the bill, "The residents and businesses of the state of Wyoming have become more habituated to the eight months of daylight saving time per year than the four months of standard time per year."

Overall, Greear said the committee last year didn't want Wyoming to be an island unto itself regarding time of day.

Laursen's bill as proposed does not have a contingency included.

Laursen said he understands Wyoming would be isolated but it might spur the neighboring states to make a change. He notes some of the neighboring states, Nebraska and South Dakota are split in two time zones — Mountain and Central.

"Let's do it and see if the other states won't do it (as well). Let's get out in the lead," Laursen said, adding that maybe the federal government would see more and more states wanting to get rid of the time change and get rid of it across the country.

Even if Wyoming approved the change, it would have to go to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation for final approval. There, Laursen said the secretary may be able to override the federal rule that allows states to stay in standard time but not stay in daylight saving time.

"It affects me for two weeks," Laursen said of the time change. "I would much rather have light in evening than in the morning (regardless of the season)."

He added that in Wyoming it is dark both in the early morning and early evening in the winter.

The bill will require two-thirds vote for introduction during the upcoming budget session of the Wyoming Legislature in Cheyenne.

Laursen said he wants people in Wyoming and across the country to know he's still talking about it and hoping Wyoming will eventually make the change.

The session begins Feb. 12.

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