AUSTIN, Texas (KTSM) — Texas state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, wants Texas voters to decide the fate of daylight saving time.
Bettencourt has filed Senate Bill 2329 and Senate Joint Resolution 86 to let Texans vote on eliminating the time change. If this is eventually approved by the state’s voters, it would group Texas with Arizona and Hawaii as the only states that do not observe daylight saving time.
“When you think of hot-button public policy issues, what usually comes to mind are things such as property tax relief and school finance and pension reform,” Bettencourt said.
“However, the issue of daylight saving time has roused passions on both sides of the debate for over 100 years,” he continued. “Texans, like me, want to be on one time, and the Federal Congress hasn’t given us the option to vote on daylight saving time. SJR 86 gives Texans the opportunity to vote on the issue and express their opinion on the debate once and for all in the Lone Star State.”
The bill would apply to all parts of the state Texas, whether using Central Standard Time and Mountain Standard Time. If the bill is passed by the Legislature, Texans would be required to vote on the issue Nov. 7, during the general election, to decide the future of the daylight saving time.
If approved by the state’s voters, the change would take effect in 2024.
“Texans are tired of having to change their clocks and lose an hour’s sleep for no reason,” said Rep. Mike Schofield, the House author of the bill (HB 417 & HJR 22.) “People would like to get home from work and play with their kids without it being dark half the time. There’s no reason not to fix this.”
Several studies on the issue have come up with mixed conclusions, regarding daylight saving time. Some studies say it reduces energy consumption, which is one major justification given to the adjustment of clocks twice a year. A 2008 Department of Energy study found that an extended daylight saving time saved about 0.5% in total electricity per day over a four-week extension, while another study conducted by the University of California in 2006 found that when Indiana moved to a statewide system it caused a 1% increase in residential electricity use.
“Instead of fall back and spring forward, it would be a fall vote to keep a daylight saving time, but the language in the Texas Constitutional Amendment says it would await a Federal Court order or Congressional action before it could be implemented. Let’s get to one time in Texas anyway we can!” Bettencourt said.
Daylight saving time was first enacted in the United States during World War II but was repealed in 1919 over the veto of President Woodrow Wilson. It was restarted in World War II, but was repealed again three weeks after the end of the war when Harry Truman was president.
A “patchwork quilt” of time zones remained until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, which allows states to be on standard time if they wish, according to Bettancourt’s office.