A bill that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent in the state of North Carolina has been stuck in a legislative committee since April, despite having bipartisan support.
While House Bill 350’s primary sponsors are Republicans — Reps. Jason Saine (District 97), Kelly Hastings (District 110) and John Szoka (District 45) — its co-sponsors are a bipartisan group of lawmakers. Republicans hold the majority in both legislative chambers.
The bill would make Daylight Saving Time year-round, if approved by the Congress. The bill says that within 60 days of Congress authorizing the states to observe Daylight Saving Time throughout the year, the Commissioner of Agriculture would notify the state governor, who would implement the change. Other states also have considered the move.
The change to a permanent Daylight Saving Time has been touted by President Donald Trump and U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) introduced the Sunshine Protection Act in March that would make the change.
Daylight Saving Time this year began March 10 and will end on Nov. 3.
Rep. Hugh Blackwell (R-86) was one of four Republicans in the N.C. House of Representatives who voted against the bill. The bill passed the House 85-27 on April 16 and was sent to the N.C. Senate the following day. It was referred to the committee on rules and operations of the Senate, where it has remained.
Blackwell said just because it’s stuck in a Senate committee doesn’t mean the bill is dead. He said it could be decided on later after the legislature finishes with a budget.
Blackwell said he had several reasons for not voting for it in the House. He said he doesn’t feel strongly about the bill but, on balance, wasn’t sold on the idea.
One of the reasons he voted against it is because school kids catching the bus early in the morning would be riding in the dark and going to school in the dark, he said.
Another reason is because people have gotten used to the system changing twice a year, Blackwell said.
Blackwell said he never heard any real reason to make the change. The time changes coordinate with the seasons and days getting longer or shorter, he said.
He said he just wasn’t convinced that anything could be gained from making Daylight Saving Time permanent. But he won’t lose any sleep over it, no matter how it turns out, Blackwell said.
Sharon McBrayer is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 828-432-8946.