BISMARCK — A lively discussion is expected Thursday morning when a Devils Lake senator’s plan that would make North Dakota like Arizona and decline to move the clock when time shifts to daylight saving time will be heard in a committee..
Republican Sen. Dave Oehlke has introduced a bill that would not only decline the one-hour time shift forward in spring and back in fall, it also would put the entire state on Central time and do away with Mountain time altogether in those southwestern counties where it still remains.
Oehlke said the concept’s gotten a fair amount of attention and most of it favorable.
“Five times the number that have talked to me are in favor of it, and even some people from Minnesota say we should do it, too,” he said.
He believes the shift to daylight saving time — this year from March 12 to Nov. 5 — is disruptive and silly: First, it makes things hard to regulate, and second, the changed hour of daylight doesn’t really affect how people go about their lives.
He also says companies and government agencies doing business across the Central and Mountain time zones lose four hours daily as time conflicts. Putting the whole state in one time zone would be more efficient.
“There’s a loss of communication and, for businesses, a loss of revenue,” he said.
Actually, by Greenwich Mean Time definition, most of North Dakota, starting near Fargo, belongs in the Mountain Time Zone.
“It could be the time zone for North Dakota is Mountain time. But two things are important — the whole state should be in one zone, and we shouldn’t have to be changing from one hour to another,” he said.
Medora businessman Doug Ellison said he’d be OK with losing daylight saving time, but not the Mountain time zone where he lives in the Badlands.
“They’ve been chipping away (at Mountain time) for a generation or two. They keep saying it would bring more business or commerce, but I don’t know that that matters with all the technology and people using emails and computers now,” Ellison said. “With daylight saving time, I don’t know why they need to manipulate that. I wouldn’t mind if that went away.”
He said daylight is daylight and, however it falls on the clock, people will use those hours to go out and tour the beautiful Badlands.
SB2167 will be heard at 9 a.m. Thursday by the Senate Transportation Committee in the Lewis and Clark Room at the Capitol.