- Make sure inaction on the budget doesn’t lead to a shutdown.
So … no room for Daylight Saving Time — the one thing that will be on most of the nation’s minds this weekend.
But by Tuesday or Wednesday, wrinkles will set in, The issue will be about as relevant as yesterday’s flight to the West coast. By Thursday, it would be about as hard to wedge into a conversation on Capitol Hill as a discussion about the national debt.
People adjust. Sleep patterns return to normal.
Not for all. A lot of folks will experience “microsleeps,” a convenient word for “zoning out,” for days to come.
Studies show people over 65 suffer the worst health effects from the time change. That surprises me because the closer I get to that age the more “microsleep” seems to define my experience every night.
But it’s safe to say that, for many of you, Sunday and part of next week will feel slightly off-kilter, even though you will have benefited from an extra hour of potential sleep.
And for many people, one question will linger. Why do we do this?
For now, the only answer seems to be because Congress can’t get its act together.
State Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, is getting ready to sponsor another time-change bill at the Utah Legislature. This one would make daylight saving time effective year-round in Utah, but only if at least four other Western states do the same and — here’s the dreaded clincher — the federal government changes the law and lets it happen.
“Those are the two triggers in my bill,” Harper told me Wednesday, noting the wisdom in avoiding a patchwork of states with different times. “I’ve chosen to say let’s all do this together.”
Right now states are free to choose year-round standard time, as Arizona and Hawaii do, but they can’t make daylight saving time a year-round thing without an act of Congress, which might require the two political parties to actually look at each other.
At least six other states have passed similar bills, pending action in Washington, and others are considering them.
Two members of Congress are trying to make things happen. One is Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, who is sponsoring a bill that would give states the freedom to choose one time or the other, or to keep changing their clocks twice a year. The other is Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who would like to make daylight saving time permanent from coast to coast.
Bishop’s bill has broad bipartisan support. Rubio’s people told the Deseret News recently they are hopeful of getting a hearing soon, but “Obviously, this isn’t going to make the MSNBC broadcast tonight.”
The idea of a permanent daylight saving time seems to have few detractors, although I encounter one or two every time I write about it. Golfers and dairy farmers like the extra hour of light in the summer and have resisted making standard time permanent, but they shouldn’t have a problem with permanent daylight saving.
And yet Utah lawmakers have been much more reluctant about tackling this issue than they have been about, say, a tax reform effort that would make a lot of people unhappy.
Last winter I sat through hearings on a bill that would have let Utahns vote on a non-binding measure to express their feelings on the matter. The sponsor told me she had to remove that idea because it lacked support, and the final measure that passed was little more than a resolution urging Congress to act.
By contrast, Harper said he thinks his bill has “a really excellent chance.” He’s meeting with leaders of other states to talk about the issue, and he thinks the European Union’s recent decision to no longer require a time change could have an impact.
“If (a successful bill) happens, it will be a work of magic, or end up as part of an omnibus package,” he said.
It also might require an attention span that lasts longer than a couple of microsleeps twice a year.