Time to move your clocks ahead one hour

But op­po­nents don’t want to lose ex­tra hour of day­light in evening.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Marty Toohey mtoohey@states­man.com

Even as Austin springs for­ward overnight, a lo­cal leg­is­la­tor is tout­ing a bill that would end day­light sav­ing time in Texas.

State Rep. Ja­son Isaac wants Tex­ans to re­mem­ber to set their clocks for­ward by an hour this Sun­day. But the Drip­ping Springs Repub­li­can wants 2017 to be the last year Tex­ans deal with day­light sav­ing time.

Isaac has in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion that would end Texas’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in the an­nual “spring for­ward” and “fall back” rit­ual. It isn’t the most press­ing is­sue fac­ing the state, he says, but it is one that af­fects ev­ery one of this state’s roughly 27 mil­lion res­i­dents in some way. Texas would be by far the largest state to make such a change, fol­low­ing Ari­zona and Hawaii and sev­eral U.S. ter­ri­to­ries. Other states are also de­bat­ing such a change.

“I think it’s just time to let the sun set on day­light sav­ing time,” Isaac said, cit­ing stud­ies that sug­gest the time change can leave peo­ple slug­gish, more prone to traf­fic col­li­sions and at higher risk of heart at­tacks. “It’s an out­dated prac­tice that we should do away with.”

Sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion made the

House floor two years ago but died amid such con­cerns as los­ing an hour of light in the evenings dur­ing spring and sum­mer. State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dal­las, de­clared at the time that elim­i­nat­ing day­light sav­ing time would also mess with two sa­cred Texas in­sti­tu­tions, forc­ing peo­ple to choose be­tween faith and foot­ball.

“I don’t want to miss church,” he said, “and I don’t want to miss the (Dal­las) Cowboys.”

In the last ses­sion, Repub­li­can Rep. Dan Flynn car­ried the leg­is­la­tion. But Flynn is now chair­man of the House Pen­sions Com­mit­tee and is fo­cused on deal­ing with those is­sues. Thus, Isaac filed leg­is­la­tion Feb. 24 to elim­i­nate day­light sav­ing time.

Flynn’s of­fice has said nearly 80,000 Tex­ans con­tacted him about the idea. Isaac said ed­u­ca­tion re­form is the most im­por­tant of his leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als, but that, even among room­fuls of peo­ple who have come to hear about ed­u­ca­tion, day­light sav­ing time gets the crowd talk­ing.

“I tell op­po­nents (of the pro­posal): ‘Imag­ine that we don’t have (day­light sav­ing time). Con­vince me that we need it.’ They can’t come up with a good rea­son,” he said.

The state’s largest busi­ness and agri­cul­ture lobby or­ga­ni­za­tions have no opin­ion about abol­ish­ing day­light sav­ing time. But there are duel­ing Face­book groups, with one, Save Day­light Sav­ing Time in Texas, declar­ing on March 1: “I don’t know about you, but sav­ing our evening day­light is very im­por­tant to me and my fam­ily, and I’m will­ing to do what it takes to save it.” Some com­menters on that page wrote they don’t mind Texas abol­ish­ing the twice-yearly time change, but say Texas should stay on day­light sav­ing time year­round and have more day­light in the evenings.

Isaac’s leg­is­la­tion hasn’t been re­ferred to com­mit­tee yet, the first step in the slow, wend­ing process from idea to law. State Sen. José Me­nen­dez, D-San An­to­nio, has filed a com­pan­ion mea­sure to be heard in the Se­nate. His mea­sure was re­ferred to the Se­nate State Af­fairs Com­mit­tee.

Isaac’s pro­posal, House Bill 2400, would also bring the El Paso area into Cen­tral Stan­dard Time, like the rest of Texas. El Paso is now on Moun­tain time, an hour be­hind the rest of the state. If the change is ap­proved, Tex­ans would fall back one last time; the law change would take ef­fect Nov. 5, 2017, “to co­in­cide with the end of day­light sav­ing time.”

Isaac said he will prob­a­bly make a short on­line video Sun­day morn­ing, “when my eyes are lit­tle blood­shot and I’m a lit­tle ex­tra tired from los­ing an hour of sleep.”

As to con­cerns about cre­at­ing a con­flict be­tween faith and foot­ball, Isaac said: “I think the NFL will work with us, and it doesn’t re­ally seem like much of a con­cern to me. But my fam­ily usu­ally goes to early ser­vice.”


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