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Lawmakers Propose Opposite DST Bills in Colorado

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Published 10-Dec-2010. Changed 11-Feb-2011

Update: The proposed House Bill 1067 which would have put Colorado on Mountain Standard Time all year was put on indefinite hold on Thursday, February 10, 2011. The other proposed bill that would have daylight saving time all year in Colorado has yet to be discussed and the date for the committee meeting has not yet been set.

Two separate proposals regarding changes to daylight saving time (DST) in Colorado will be debated on when lawmakers convene next year. State Representative Ed Vigil is proposing a bill that would end DST in Colorado and have standard time all year, while Senator Greg Brophy is proposing a bill that would have DST all year-round.

Neither lawmaker knew that the other was pushing for a time change in Colorado when both bills were proposed. The dueling bills are scheduled to be debated upon in the upcoming legislative session next month.

Denver State Capitol Building with Mountain View

Two opposite bills have been proposed by state lawmakers to either ditch or stretch daylight saving time in Colorado.

©iStockphoto.com/Adventure_Photo

The Proposed Standard Time Bill

Colorado State Representative Ed Vigil’s proposal to stay on standard time all year would join Arizona and Hawaii in their non-DST schedule of early evenings and late afternoon darkness. The idea for the proposal mainly came from his farmer constituents who don’t like to change their clocks in the spring and fall. They also claim that they don’t really need the extra daylight hour to work in the field.

Supporters of standard time all year argue that children don’t easily adjust to the time change and the move will decrease the number of days children wait in the dark mornings for school buses. However, others will argue that standard time increases the number of days children are dropped off in darkness after school.

The Proposed DST Bill

On the opposite end of the debate, Senator Greg Brophy is proposing a bill that would have daylight saving time all year round in Colorado. He hopes that this move will give people more daylight in the evenings to enjoy the outdoors. His proposal would allow people to get more from Colorado’s outdoor way of life after school and work and also benefit tourism.

However, this bill may face a federal challenge if it becomes a law. The United States’ current DST schedule states that daylight saving time would begin on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November. According to the United States’ Energy Policy Act of 2005, states and territories have the right to exempt their state from following DST if the entire state rests within one time zone. However the United States Code does not allow a state legislature to avoid returning to standard time in November.

Although this may become a setback for Brophy’s bill, he will defend it on the basis of states’ rights, in which nothing in the Constitution authorizes the federal government to mandate how Colorado sets its clocks.

Colorado’s Time Zone

Colorado is on Mountain Standard Time (MST), or UTC-7, during the non-daylight saving period. It is on Mountain Daylight Time (MDT), or UTC-6, during daylight saving time. It currently follows the rest of the United States’ daylight saving schedule.

DST in many parts of the United States – including Colorado – lines up with section 110 of the United States’ Energy Policy Act of 2005, which states that daylight saving time would begin on the second Sunday of March and it would end on first Sunday of November. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 does not alter the rights of the states and territories that choose not to observe daylight saving time.

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