SALT LAKE CITY – Utah residents said Thursday that officials should reject daylight saving time and join Arizona and Hawaii as the only states that don’t adjust their clocks.
Speaking at the first public forum on the topic, businessmen, parents and outdoor lovers cited reasons to do away with the practice. The meeting marked the biggest advance for a movement that has sprung forward and fallen back at the state Legislature since 1997.
Switching times makes business more difficult because it puts Utah out of step with neighboring Arizona for much of the year, said Joe Miller, who works in computer science.
Parents said they don’t like to move clocks ahead, because it forces children to walk to school and bus stops in the dark.
That outweighs any inconvenience concern, Adam Milner said.
And a trail runner from Park City said changing times means his morning runs lose an hour of cool air.
Daylight saving time is truly not necessary, David Bennett said. Let’s leave the clocks alone.
Most speakers opposed daylight saving time, but agriculture spokesman Sterling Brown was among the few who spoke in support of the current system.
Brown, representing the Utah Farm Bureau, said cows don’t care whether they’re milked at 5:30 or 6:30 in the morning, so the organization hasn’t taken an official position. But farmers and ranchers with day jobs appreciate the time switch because it gives them evening daylight to tend herds and fields after work.
A working father, Brian Anderson, also said he wanted to keep things as they are because he gets exercise and family time outdoors after work.
I need that daylight hour for my health and to be active with my family, he said.
In the U.S., Congress passed the first daylight saving time legislation in 1918. Nearly 50 years later, the federal Uniform Time Act put a national daylight saving time in effect from the last Sunday in April through the last Sunday in October. It was extended by a month in 2007.
States aren’t required to take part. And U.S. territories don’t observe the switch, including American Samoa, Guam and Puerto Rico.
Arizona rejected the practice in 1968 under pressure from business leaders. Hawaii, a former territory, has never observed daylight saving time.