Home News Local News Pirtle intends to introduce permanent time bill in 2021

Pirtle intends to introduce permanent time bill in 2021

State Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, during an April 2019 meeting of the Chaves County Federated Republican Women at the Elks Lodge. (Daily Record File Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Have you adjusted yet to Sunday’s change to mountain standard time?

A local state legislator plans to continue his efforts to change state law so that New Mexico residents would keep their clocks the same throughout the year, with his preference that the state remain year-round on mountain daylight time.

District 32 State Sen. Cliff Pirtle, a Republican from Roswell, said switching the time twice a year has impacts on health and “biological clocks” and results in more car accidents as people adjust to driving in the dark either before or after work and school. He also said that he thinks New Mexico could reap a lot of benefits from keeping the extra sun at the end of a workday that comes with daylight saving time.

“I think it is something that would really help tourism in New Mexico,” Pirtle added. “We enjoy some very beautiful days, even in the wintertime. This would allow skiers some extra time to ski and golfers an extra hour to golf in the afternoon and really some time for families to spend outdoors, whether it is playing sports or other activities that families enjoy doing.”

Pirtle is running unopposed for reelection to his senate seat and said that he intends to introduce legislation for the 2021 state legislative session that would establish which time plan to adopt and keep throughout the year. Filing deadlines for legislation are often in December, he said.

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Currently New Mexicans “fall back” to standard time in early November, setting their clocks back an hour, and then “spring forward” to daylight saving time in mid-March by setting their clocks an hour ahead.

Pirtle has earned the nickname “Father Time” because of the numerous times he has introduced permanent time legislation since taking office in 2013.

In 2015, 2017 and 2019, the bill passed the Senate but died in the House. In 2013 and 2020, the proposed legislation did not make it out of the Senate.

Pirtle said 2021 would be the fourth time that he introduced the legislation in its current form, a “permanent daylight saving time” bill.

“Every year it builds momentum as people are made aware of it and we keep asking the question, why are we still doing this?” he said. “More and more people are getting fed up with it as they realize there is really not one good reason to keep changing the clocks, so now we just need to pick which time best fits our geographic area.”

He said that he estimates 80% of people he has dealt with on the issue have indicated they would prefer daylight saving time if one time setting is made permanent.

To Pirtle that also makes sense because daylight saving time represents eight months of the year and due to New Mexico’s proximity to eastern states. He also said that selecting standard time as the permanent time would mean that there would be some times of the year when New Mexico would have a two-hour time difference with Texas.

Pirtle said that Apple and Microsoft employees have assured him that computer software could be updated to make changes so that people’s smartphones and computers would show the correct time when they are in New Mexico.

In 2019, those who opposed Pirtle’s bill and a House bill that would have kept standard time year-round included Dona Ana County commissioners, who passed a resolution against both bills. They said that establishing a permanent time would cause time differences with neighboring states and make it more difficult to conduct business, especially for border towns.

Arizona, Hawaii and U.S. territories now observe standard time throughout the year.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.