Senator Bettencourt Says Let Texans Vote on Daylight Saving Time

Austin, TX – Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) & joint author Senator Jose Menendez (D- San Antonio) filed SJR 68 that would let the people vote on the elimination of Daylight-Saving Time. If the voters approve, this will group Texas in with Arizona and Hawaii, the only two states that do not currently observe daylight saving time in the United States.

“The issue of Daylight-Saving Time has roused passions on both sides of the debate for over 100 years,” said Senator Bettencourt. “Giving Texans the opportunity to vote on the issue will settle the debate once and for all in the Lone Star State!” he added. “Let the people Vote on their time!”

SJR 68 would apply to all portions of Texas using Central Standard Time as well as Mountain Standard Time. If passed, the bill would require a vote on the November 2, 2021 general election where Texas voters would decide whether to abolish daylight saving time. If approved by the voters, the change would take effect in 2022. Daylight Saving Time was first enacted in the United States during World War I but was repealed in 1919 over the veto of President Woodrow Wilson. It was restarted during World War II but again repealed three weeks after the end of the war during the Truman Administration. What remained was a patchwork quilt until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, which allows States to remain on standard time if they wish.

“I have advocated for a public policy of ‘let the people vote’ when it comes to pension obligation bonds and rollback elections regarding their property tax bills,” continued Senator Bettencourt. “The issue of Daylight-Saving Time is no different. Let the people vote and trust their vote!”

One major justification given for Daylight Saving Time is that it reduces energy consumption. Studies on the issue have been mixed however, with a 2008 Department of Energy study finding that an extended Daylight- Saving Time “saved about 0.5 percent (1.3 billion kilowatt hours) in total electricity per day” over a four-week extension. A University of California Santa Barbara study however found that when Indiana moved to a statewide system in 2006 it caused a 1% increase in residential electricity use.

“Instead of fall back and spring forward it would be a fall vote to stop a spring forward!” quipped Senator Bettencourt. “But remember to push your clocks forward tonight until then!” he added.

Senator Bettencourt currently serves as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government and he sits on the Senate Finance, Senate Education, Senate Criminal Justice, and Senate Redistricting Committees.