Once a week during the legislative session, Journal Capitol Bureau reporters will answer questions posed by readers. You can submit questions at the Journal’s website: ABQJournal.com/legislature.
Q. Will the Legislature select standard time to be the year-round time used throughout New Mexico during this session? If not, why not? — Michael Murphy
A. Debate over the bi-annual time changes has become as much of an annual staple in recent years at the Roundhouse as poorly-sung “Happy Birthday” serenades.
During this year’s 60-day session, there are two dueling bills on the issue — each with critics and staunch supporters.
One of the bills, Senate Bill 191, seeks to exempt New Mexico from daylight saving time and, instead, permanently keep the state on standard time.
The other measure, Senate Bill 287, would keep the state on daylight saving time year round by declaring a new “Mountain Daylight Saving Time,” though such a move would require federal approval.
But with just over two weeks left in this year’s session, neither time-shifting proposal has advanced very far in the legislative process and both appear unlikely to reach Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk.
Currently, Hawaii and Arizona are the only states that don’t observe daylight saving time, though the parts of the Navajo Nation located in Arizona do change their clocks. But at least six other western states have passed legislation to shift to permanent daylight saving time, if given congressional approval.
The issue is timely for this year’s session, with daylight saving time set to begin March 12.