An effort to study what would happen if Louisiana went to daylight saving time all the time neared the end of its legislative journey Tuesday when a Senate committee advanced the House-passed measure.
State Rep. Mark Wright, R-Covington, described House Concurrent Resolution 72 as a study to determine the impact of springing forward all year round if the U.S. Congress approves standardizing daylight saving time for the entire calendar year.
Wright said he didn’t think Louisiana would go off on its own but the state should study how an hour of extra light in the evening affects electricity usage, livestock, student performance, tourism and other factors should this state decide not to change its clocks by an hour twice a year.
Wright said some studies suggest that the change in time causes adverse health effects, increased car wrecks, and difficulties with farm animals.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs approved without objection the resolution that now heads to the full Senate. It had passed the House on an 89-4 vote May 10 vote.
Metairie Republican Sen. Conrad Appel said he worried about what would happen to the business community if Louisiana stayed an hour ahead in the winter while the rest of the Central Time Zone was an hour behind on standard time.
Louisiana has observed daylight saving time since 1967. But federal law allows states to opt out. Arizona and Hawaii have done so.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, sponsored legislation in Washington, D.C., to make the change nationwide. Florida’s state Legislature approved a bill to shift that state into the daylight saving time permanently if the federal government makes the change nationwide.
South Carolina’s legislature passed legislation two weeks ago setting a voter referendum to decide the issue.
Wright’s HCR72, which is cosponsored by Kenner Republican Rep. Julie Stokes, would set up a 13-member task force appointed by the lieutenant governor, the governor’s cabinet officers and, after an amendment added in committee, the speaker of the House and the president of the Senate.
The task force, which would serve without pay, would have to deliver a written report on its findings and recommendations to the Legislature 60 days before the 2019 regular session begins on April 8.
Adding an extra hour of daylight first became law on March 31, 1918, as a wartime measure. It was repealed in 1919, but many cities continued to shift their clocks. The idea returned in World War II and repealed once peace came.
Again, cities and states set their own times leading to the federal Uniform Time Act of 1966, which dictated that clocks would spring forward an hour on the last Sunday in April and fall back to standard time on the last Sunday in October.