A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

10 March 2017

Daylight Saving Time repeal bill hearing set for Tuesday


Daylight Saving Time. By Beth Cook, Congressional Research Service, 9 March 2016. PDF.

Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time. By David Prerau, 28 April 2009. Kindle and hard copy.

Will Montana become 3rd state to ditch daylight saving time? By Tom Kuglin, Helena Independent Record, 5 March 2017.

Map of western time zones if Montana repeals DST.

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday. Two days later, at 0900, the Montana House’s state administration committee will hold a hearing on SB-206, which would repeal DST in Montana. At present, only Hawaii, 2,500 miles offshore and partly in the tropics, and Arizona, do not observe DST.

Two Flathead legislators, Rep. Frank Garner and Rep. Derek Skees, sit on the House’s state administration committee. Garner requested a bill (LC-1499) with the short title of “Eliminate daylight savings (sic) time,” but the bill’s draft is on hold.

The timing of the hearing is not coincidental. SB-206’s supporters want the committee’s members to consider the bill while some are still mildly exasperated by the changeover.

Why repealing DST is being pushed, both in Montana and in several other states, remains a mystery, but the push seems to be coming from rural Republicans associated with agriculture and may be nothing more than Old MacDonald’s revenge on urban Americans who work by the clock and benefit greatly from DST.

In the Montana Senate’s state administration committee’s hearing, the bill’s author, Sen. Ryan Osmundson (R-Buffalo), a member of the committee, mumbled that he’d received a few telephone calls on the issue, but provided no details. The minutes of the hearing do not indicate that written testimony was submitted. The committee’s executive action lasted three minutes, 16 seconds. Sen. Dee Brown (R-Hungry Horse) said she’d received a few telephone calls from parents, but did not elaborate.

Who is Ryan Osmundson? According to his personal website:

Ryan enjoys hunting and fishing with his [8] children. Ryan has a small business selling agriculture products and farms as well. Ryan is a pilot and attended Colorado Aero Tech to become an A&P mechanic. Ryan also attended Montana Wilderness School of the Bible, where he met his wife Jessica. Ryan was home schooled and grew up in North East Iowa. [Link added.]

I’m tempted to call the hearing and executive session shams, but that supposes unsavory intent. The intent here appears to have been giving a member of the committee a free ride, and to whip matters through the committee before the transmittal deadline. Call it insouciance squared, high school genre fecklessness.

Taking Montana out of time sync with the nation and neighboring states is a serious proposal that merits serious discussion. Thus far, however, the legislature’s approach has been frivolous and irresponsible. The bill’s proponents are trying to ram it through the legislature, evidently fearing that extended discussion of the issue will reveal just how popular daylight saving time is.

If you like that extra hour of sunshine in the evening, when the day is warm, let your legislator and the committee knowpronto.