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NM lawmakers reject daylight saving proposal

In this file photo, Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, listens during a Senate floor session in February. His proposal to move New Mexico to daylight saving time all year passed the Senate but was blocked Monday in the House. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

SANTA FE — A panel of state legislators blocked a proposal Monday that sought to keep New Mexico on daylight saving time all year.

The legislation, Senate Bill 102, would have shifted New Mexico to permanent daylight saving time as soon as federal law allows states to make the change.

Opponents said the move could disrupt economic activity in southern New Mexico, putting New Mexicans on different time than their neighbors in El Paso. It might also complicate international trade at the border with Mexico, they said.

The bill was tabled on a 7-3 vote in the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee, keeping it from advancing to the full House for consideration.

The measure had already passed the Senate — on a 22-18 vote earlier this month.

Supporters said the twice-a-year time changes are antiquated and contribute to health problems.

Sen. Cliff Pirtle, a Roswell Republican who has championed the measure for years, said he didn’t anticipate creating a “checkerboard” problem of different time zones if the bill were passed. Instead, he said, it would encourage the federal government to take action nationwide.

“This is a stronger message to Congress to fix it,” Pirtle said.

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