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Posted 1/17/17 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

If legislation being proposed by North Dakota Senator Dave Oehlke of Devils Lake successfully makes its way through this year’s Legislature North Dakota residents could finally be on just one time zone.
Under SB2167, Oehlke is proposing that all of North Dakota become part of the Central Time Zone. And to me, making the shift to one time zone makes a lot of sense.
Granted, there will be an issue convincing people in southwestern North Dakota, which has been operating on Mountain Time, that it makes sense for them to change. After all, we are creatures of habit. And, as such, we resist change.
But truly having the entire state on just one time zone makes a lot of sense. Gone will be the days for those of us living in western North Dakota, but on Central Time, having to explain to other businesses or people in the state what time zone we are in. Likewise, gone would be the confusion for the rest of the people in North Dakota wondering which time zone parts of the western and southwestern state are operating on.
Having North Dakota on just one time zone makes so much sense we have to wonder why it has taken so long for this concept to be brought forward.
A second part of Oehlke’s legislation is probably far more controversial and that would be his proposal that North Dakota no longer be part of Daylight Savings Time (DST).
Daylight Savings Time, which dates back to the early ’70s in the United States, was an effort to conserve energy. Whether or not it succeeded in saving energy can be disputed. But for many Americans having one more hour of daylight in the evening to enjoy recreational activities or just more daylight after work in the summer, seemed to be worth all the hassle of changing clocks twice a year.
And with a few exceptions by the states of Arizona and Hawaii, all other states do the twice a year time change as clocks leap forward one hour in the summer and then fall back one hour in the fall.
The question as to why Oehlke believes that ditching DST is a good idea for our state is puzzling. Since all of our neighboring states participate in daylight savings time, does it make sense from a business standpoint to put ourselves on a different time in the summer?
For me, I like Oehlke’s plan to put the entire state on one time zone. But I dislike getting rid of daylight savings time. And if enough legislators follow that same logic, the two changes may be just enough to doom SB2167. Which would be too bad.