Time to move your clocks ahead one hour
But opponents don’t want to lose extra hour of daylight in evening.
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 “It’s an outdated practice that we should do away with.”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.”