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Oklahoma lawmakers weigh a lasting daylight savings time

Like the rest of the country, Oklahoma has switches between standard time and daylight saving time.

Oklahoma could join 19 other states in having a permanent daylight saving time “trigger law.”

Sen. Blake Stephens, R- Tahlequah, wrote Senate Bill 1200, which would allow the state to stop changing clocks if a federal law allowing the time change is made. The bill advanced out of the state’s Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee yesterday with a 6-3 vote.

While in the committee, Stephens said he held an interim study on the impacts of a permanent time. He said the time switch would have public health, safety and economic benefits.

“It would be a catalyst for a robust economic shot-in-the-arm for small businesses and large businesses alike,” Stephen said. “In fact, it would have positive effects on tourism and agritourism.”

This is not the first time the Oklahoma Legislature has considered a bill aiming to have a permanent daylight saving time. During last year’s legislative session, Stephens co-authored a similar bill that passed the state Senate.

In Congress, the Sunshine Protection Act would make daylight saving time the permanent standard time. The bill unanimously passed the U.S. Senate in 2022 and the U.S. House has not heard the bill.

Many lawmakers are in favor of no longer changing clocks, but there is some disagreement as to which time - daylight savings or standard time - is best.

Stephens said having a trigger law in Oklahoma and showing support for a permanent daylight saving time would help push pressure on Congress to take up the federal bill.

While local lawmakers consider clocks, Oklahoma and the rest of the nation will still spring forward in less than two weeks — on March 10.

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Anna Pope is a reporter covering agriculture and rural issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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