BY FREDA MIKLIN
On June 2, Governor Jared Polis signed HB22-1297, Daylight Saving Time Year Round, into law, making Colorado the nineteenth state to have passed a law expressing a preference to stay on daylight saving time permanently. Since the current system of moving clocks forward one hour on the second Sunday in March and back one hour on the first Sunday in November is based on federal law, Congress must act before Colorado and the other 18 states can adopt year round daylight saving time. The U.S. Senate passed a bill to allow the change on March 15 but the U.S. House has not yet acted on it.
Although current law does not allow permanent daylight saving time, it does allow permanent standard time. Arizona and Hawaii have adopted that.
The new Colorado law also requires that at least four other states in the mountain standard time zone adopt permanent daylight saving time before our state does so. Utah, Wyoming and Montana have already passed laws stating they will make the change if Congress acts to permit it. New Mexico, southern Idaho or Arizona could be number four if they choose to act.
Most of the support for making the change to permanent daylight saving time comes from research that shows that changing the time one hour twice a year causes health issues, including heart attacks and strokes, as well as an increase in traffic accidents, because people’s circadian rhythms have difficulty adjusting to the back-and-forth.
In Colorado, permanent daylight saving time would result in sunrise not occurring until 8:00 a.m. between the end of November and the first week in February thus many children would be going to school in the dark during those weeks. Many adults would likewise be commuting to work in the dark.
Greenwood Village State Sen. Jeff Bridges was a prime sponsor of the bill and said, after it was signed into law, “We finally did it. I couldn’t be more excited… Now we just need Congress to do the right thing and lock the clock.” Not all his local colleagues agreed. Voting no on the bill, along with 14 of their colleagues from both sides of the aisle in the general assembly, were Arapahoe County’s Sen. Chris Kolker, Rep. Meg Froelich and Rep. David Ortiz.