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Representative Dan Laursen

Permanent Daylight Saving Time For Wyoming Just Got One Step Closer

in News/Legislature
Rep. Dan Laursen (right). Photo by Matt Idler.
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By Leo Wolfson, political reporter
Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com

The push to get rid of daylight saving time gained another victory last week with Colorado becoming the latest state to join Wyoming on the measure.

Although Colorado’s commitment doesn’t mean Wyoming residents will be able to avoid the dreaded clock change just yet,  Rep. Dan Laursen (R-Powell) said it’s still an important step.

“It’s pretty fantastic,” he said.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the Daylight Saving Time Year Round measure into law with strong support from both legislative chambers. With Polis’ signature, there are now 22 states that want to get rid of the time change between daylight saving and standard time.

Daylight saving time is the period between spring and fall when clocks in most parts of the country are set one hour ahead of standard time. Standard time begins in November for the majority of the U.S. and lasts through March.

Repealing the time change that dates back to 1966 is an effort Laursen spearheaded in Wyoming, crafting four bills before his 2020 bill finally received passage.

Laursen’s bill allows the state to observe daylight saving time full-time if surrounding states did the same thing.

Laursen explained in a phone interview Tuesday that this was a symbolic showing of solidarity against the federal government in the short term, but allows Wyoming to default to mountain daylight saving time immediately if the federal government allows it to do so.

Federal Efforts

In March, by a unanimous voice vote, the U.S. Senate voted to discontinue the practice of changing the clock twice a year and make daylight saving time permanent beginning in 2023. The benefits of getting rid of standard time include longer afternoon daylight in the winter months.

“During the long winter I would rather have the extra hour,” Laursen said. “I would rather be chopping ice in the afternoon daylight.”

The negatives, Laursen said, are mostly limited to darker winter mornings, which could negatively affect the safety and sleep patterns of children. Laursen said those issues could be remedied by having children start one hour later.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine published a statement in 2020 supporting a fixed year-round time. The organization also argues DST abnormally delays sunlight, which can throw off normal sleep cycles.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. told The Hill in March that despite supporting doing away with semiannual time change in the past,  she has since gotten mixed reactions from her constituents.

“I’ve been hearing a lot about this from my constituents recently because we’re in Seattle and it is so dark,” she told the Hill, “and so if we make daylight saving permanent, it’s gonna be dark until like nine o’clock in the morning.”

More Hurdles

The federal Sunshine Protection Act has two more hurdles to clear before it can become a law. The House must pass the bill and if it did, then it would go on to President Joe Biden’s desk. It is unclear if he supports the measure.

The federal government must enact this law in order for states to have the option to choose if they want to go on permanent daylight saving time or opt to standard time. In Wyoming, this could go into effect immediately with Colorado’s passage. In Colorado however, four other Mountain Time Zone states are needed to enact its passage.

Montana, Wyoming and Utah have all passed permanent daylight saving time measures. Arizona is already on permanent standard time and New Mexico declined to change earlier this year. Similar legislation failed in Idaho in 2019.

More than two-thirds of Americans want to stop the twice-a-year time change, according to a recent poll.

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U.S. Senate Unanimously Passes Bill Making Daylight Saving Time Permanent

in News
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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Here in Wyoming, making Daylight Saving Time permanent has been discussed for years and culminated in the passage of a law two years ago outlining how it could be done in the Equality State.

But today’s action in the U.S. Senate is the first time that serious movement on the issue has been taken on the national level and it could just be the most popular thing the body has done in ages.

By a unanimous voice vote, the U.S. Senate voted to discontinue the practice of changing the clock twice a year and to make Daylight Saving Time permanent beginning in 2023.

The bill has two more hurdles to clear before it can become a law. The House must pass the bill and if it did, then it would go on to President Biden’s desk. It is unclear if he supports the measure.

What that would mean for Wyoming is it would no longer start getting dark at 4pm in December. 

Of course, it would stay darker in the morning hours during the winter months, but the Wyoming Legislature has already signaled its preference for sticking to Daylight Saving time.

Two years ago legislation championed by Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell, was passed that would allow the state to observe Daylight Saving Time full-time if surrounding states did the same thing.

Last year he told Cowboy State Daily that he was a tireless advocate of the change being he was tired of the change.

“It’s just so hard on people,” Laursen said. “It’s hard on me, it’s hard on the elderly. Your school kids. It’s hard on your dogs. They want fed and you’re not ready.”

He did acknowledge that the darker hours could be disruptive for schools but there were ways around that.

“It would be darker in the morning longer, but they could change their schedule, they could start at 9,” he said.

More than two-thirds of Americans want to stop the twice-a-year time change, according to a recent poll.

More than 40 states are considering, or have passed legislation, that would eliminate the practice, pending federal legislation.

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Bob Geha: Daylight Saving Time Bill Awaits House Review

in News/politics
Cheyenne Depot
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A measure that would allow Wyoming to stay on daylight saving time year-round has won initial approval from the state House.

House Bill 44 was approved last week by the House Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee and was approved in its first full review in the House on Monday.

The bill would allow Wyoming to apply to the federal government to remain on daylight savings time throughout the year, but only if Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Montana approve the same change.

Bill sponsor Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell, said the bill would eliminate the need to change time twice a year, which he said poses a safety threat.

“It just affects you when you’re getting up in the morning at a different time,” he said. “It just really hurts you, I think.”

Laursen said 12 other states are looking at the same issue, as is Congress.

The bill must win initial approval on the House floor by Tuesday to be considered for further action.

Hathaway scholarship for selected out-of-state students headed for final review

in News/Education
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By Cowboy State Daily

Selected graduates of out-of-state high schools would be able to apply a state Hathaway Scholarship under a bill approved in its second reading in the House on Wednesday.

Representatives voted to send HB 133 on for a third and final House review.Supporters including Rep. Dan Laursen, R-Powell, said the program would be a good way to lure students from other states to Wyoming.

“We want to try to reach out and grab some of the better students, or real smart students … in the surrounding states,” he said.

The bill would allow two students from each state that shares a border with Wyoming to apply for the scholarship each year. The winners of the “Hathaway expands Wyoming” scholarships would be selected by a committee made up of the governor, superintendent of public instruction, president of the University of Wyoming and the director of the Wyoming Community College Commission and would receive funding for up to four years of college.

For every four semesters of scholarship funds provided, recipients would have to agree to either work in Wyoming for one year or attend graduate school at the University of Wyoming for one year.

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