Daylight savings time clock

Two bills are on the legislative agenda this year that hope to end daylight saving time in Colorado.

Introduced Friday, House Bill 1297 seeks to make daylight saving time year-round if federal law is changed to allow states to do so. Senate Bill 135, which is also up for consideration, aims to create a statewide ballot measure to exempt Colorado from recognizing daylight saving time, leaving the state in Mountain Standard Time year-round.

“I just want to stop the madness,” said Sen. Jeff Bridges, who is sponsoring both of the bills. “We could pass both, one or the other, or neither. I believe the most likely outcome is just one of them will pass. We’re still working on both.”

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During daylight saving time — the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November — time is advanced one hour. Colorado lawmakers have tried for more than 30 years to end the flipping back and forth between Mountain Standard Time and daylight saving time. Then-Sen. Bill Schroeder, R-Morrison, led that first effort in 1988.

The pleas have continued in recent years, with Colorado bills and ballot proposals to make standard time year-round introduced in 2019, 2017 and 2015. Other efforts have aimed to make daylight saving time year-round in 2020, 2019, 2017 and 2015. All of the bills were immediately rejected by committees, failing to make it to the full state House or Senate for consideration.

Bridges, a Greenwood Village Democrat, said the time change disrupts sleep schedules, causes traffic accidents and is a general bi-yearly annoyance for Coloradans.

“I think the role of government is to make life easier for folks, not harder,” Bridges said. “In the days after we spring forward, there’s a measurable decrease in productivity, increase in traffic accidents, and a general loathing of having to change the clock. We can prevent that by locking the clock.”

However, not everyone wants to stop resetting the clock twice a year. In past years, efforts to end daylight saving time have been met with fierce push back from the ski industry and broadcasters who said it would disrupt their scheduling and operations. 

United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Colorado Ski Country USA, the Colorado Competitive Council, the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Industry Association of Colorado already registered in opposition to SB-135. No organizations are registered in support.

“CHLA is opposed to SB-135 to support our ski industry and airline partners,” said Amie Mayhew, president and CEO of the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association. “There really isn't much direct impact on hotel operations, but we need our ski areas and airlines to thrive."

The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee discussed SB-135 on March 1 but skipped voting on the bill. Lawmakers have yet to scheduled either HB 1297 or SB 135 for a vote.

It is against federal law for states to implement year-round daylight saving time, though they can use year-round standard time, as Hawaii and Arizona do. In the last four years, 18 states have passed legislation to make daylight saving time year-round if Congress decides to allow the change, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

If HB-1297 passed, it would only go into effect if Congress changes the law. However, since 2018, Congress has tried and failed each year to pass legislation that would make daylight saving time permanent.

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