SALT LAKE CITY — It turns out one hour on the clock can spark hours, days and years of debate.
Utah could become the third state in the country to abandon the practice of springing forward and falling back each year in order to have more daylight in the warm months.
Right now, Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that don’t change the clock twice a year.
The legislature mandated a public discussion of the idea of abandoning daylight saving time and the debate came to the Clark Planetarium on Thursday morning. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development hosted a forum, asking the public to comment.
The response was largely in favor of abandoning daylight saving time and adopting standard time around the clock.
“We need to leave the time alone, there’s too many accidents,” said Ed Berenson of Provo, voicing a concern expressed by many that the early wake up times in spring cause health problems and car accidents.
But on the other side, several working fathers said they look forward to daylight saving time in order to have more time with their children outside in the evening.
The marketing Vice President for Lagoon Amusement park, Dick Andrew, said leaving daylight saving time behind would cost Utah’s economy.
“Speaking on behalf of the entertainment industry and the tourist industry, doing away with daylight saving time would be a major blow,” Andrew said.
Two state legislators were on hand, both Republicans. Rep. Rhonda Menlove sponsored the bill that mandated the discussion. Before it was amended, Menlove’s bill would have already switched the state to permanent standard time.
Menlove is not running for a new term. Rep. Lee Perry, who was also there, says he’ll take up the cause next year.