BOISE — Changing clocks twice a year to account for daylight saving poses health risks, among other problems for Idahoans, said Rep. Christy Zito, whose bill to eliminate daylight saving time statewide advanced in the House on Tuesday.
After no debate in the Senate State Affairs Committee, Zito’s bill was sent to the House floor with a “do-pass” recommendation. It would exempt Idaho from daylight saving time changes, leaving the entire state in standard time year-round. Rep. Brooke Green, D-Boise, cast the one vote against the change.
With daylight savings, Idahoans move their clocks forward one hour from March to November.
“Every time the time changes, it causes issues with business, crime increase, farmers and ranchers supposedly have to shift their schedules,” Zito, R-Hammett, said.
The periodic time change can lead to seasonal affective disorder and depression, she said, and create problems for people who are pregnant or suffer from cluster headaches.
“My biggest argument in favor of it are the health issues,” Zito said.
Zito said daylight savings time creates inconsistencies in time zones worldwide, not just in the U.S. Contrary to popular belief, she said, “it doesn’t have anything to do with farmers and ranchers.”
“The original idea of daylight savings time actually goes to a bug collector George Vernon Hudson, who wanted to make daylight savings time a thing so he could have more time in the afternoon to collect bugs,” Zito said. “The cows don’t care what the clock says — when it’s time to milk the cows, you milk the cows.”
Zito said she’s received hundreds of phone calls from people concerned about time changes and is glad it passed the committee.
This isn’t the first time a bill relating to daylight savings has come to the Legislature.
A bill was introduced in 2015 by House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, to put Idaho on year-round daylight saving time, but it was eventually withdrawn after it was found to be illegal under federal law. Federal law only allows states to opt-out of daylight savings time.
Zito’s bill brings Idaho in line with several other states this year, including Washington and Wyoming, who are also considering eliminating daylight saving. Two states, Hawaii and Arizona, and U.S. territories don’t observe daylight saving, and California and Florida are in the process of joining them, The Seattle Times reports. The move, along with the support of the state Legislature, requires congressional approval.
“It doesn’t work, it causes problems, it’s less beneficial, it doesn’t change the sunlight,” Zito said. “Let’s get rid of the change.”