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Time Out? Lawmakers Debate Getting Rid Of Daylight Saving In Oklahoma

Brian Hardzinski

On Wednesday a House committee passed a bill that eliminates Daylight Saving Time in Oklahoma.

State Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, presented House Bill 2557 in the State and Federal Relations Committee on behalf of its author, state Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford. Russ said the bill would put Oklahoma on the current Central Standard Time, and it would stay that way all year long, rather than moving forward in the spring. He faced several questions from State Representative Sally Kern.

"The crucial matter for me is, is regardless of what time you get up in the morning, when you get off work at a certain time of day, there are a lot of people that want to have four hours of daylight still left when they get off work so they can do different things,” Kern said.

Kern also asked what effect less daylight would have on Oklahomans’ health. Although she couldn’t remember the name, she referenced Seasonal Affective Disorder, the idea that depression can affect people in winter months due to less sunlight.

eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley reports:

"If someone needs to get more daylight and they are not willing to get up earlier, they are harming themselves," said Russ. Rep. Marty Lepak, R-Claremore, said the change would put Oklahoma out-of-step with the rest of the country, possible hurting business. "It does have a significant impact on businesses that do business outside of the state and with people in other time zones," he said. Russ responded that Oklahoma would join Indiana in remaining on standard time, where it seemed to create no problems. "We are not going to have to go through any different mental logistics than we do now," Russ said. Rep. Ken Walker, R-Tulsa, said he had visited Indiana on several occasions and had no problems finding services despite coming from a different time zone.

Russ acknowledged the bill would probably have a hard time getting to the House floor. Arizona is the only state in the country that doesn't observe Daylight Saving, and several other states have unsuccessfully introduced similar legislation in recent years.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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