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Senators discuss permanen daylight saving time

 

March 24, 2022



We change our clocks twice a year, switching from standard time to daylight saving time and back again, even though we may not like it. This could soon change. The legislature gave first-round approval to LB 283, which would keep daylight saving time year-round, if given approval on the federal level and three adjacent states adopt similar laws. To date, Wyoming has passed this legislation and the proposal is pending in Colorado, Iowa and Missouri. In total, 18 states have passed bills to switch to year-round daylight saving time and an additional 27 states are considering it. Furthermore, on the federal level, the Senate approved a measure with bipartisan support that would make daylight saving time permanent across the United States next year. The proposal now goes before the House of Representatives.

Under current federal law, states are allowed to keep standard time year-round or change their clocks twice a year. However, the sponsor of LB 283, Sen.Tom Briese, stated he initially attempted to propose standard time year-round but ran into much opposition from retailers, Chambers of commerce and the recreational industry, who prefer longer daylight. Supporters cited many reasons to end the practice of changing our clocks, such as difficulty in getting children out of bed for school, disruption of medication schedules, reduced economic activity, health reasons and even increased car accidents.

The Appropriations Committee presented its budget proposal to the legislature and we spent most of this past week debating it. The state’s financial status has significantly improved since the legislature passed the biennial budget last year. Since last session, more than $2 billion of additional revenues have affected the budget. Of this amount, $611 million is retained in the General Fund and $1.445 billion was transferred to the Cash Reserve Fund, as required by law. With the addition of unused appropriations from last fiscal year, it resulted in $775 million in available funds for this biennium. The Appropriations Committee utilized $349 million in their budget recommendations, leaving $454 million in available funding for tax cuts or increased spending. Of the $349 million utilized by the committee, 75% went to employee salary increases, provider rate increases and support for the STAR WARs proposal.

Much of the debate on the budget bill adjustments focused on correctional issues. The Appropriations Committee’s recommendations include a $175 million transfer from the Cash Reserve Fund for a new $270 million, 1,512-bed correctional facility to replace the aging Nebraska State Penitentiary. However, its recommendations do not include the appropriation authority to expend these funds, requiring further action by the legislature. The chair of the Judiciary Committee strongly believes criminal justice reform needs to take place prior to discussion of prison construction.

Without changes in parole or reduced sentencing for some crimes, even with the new facility, it is projected that our prison system will be overcrowded by more than 1,300 inmates by 2030. Nebraska tops other states in having the most overcrowded prisons.

I want to inform high school students who have an interest in law, government, leadership or public speaking, of the 2022 Unicameral Youth legislature. It is a four-day legislative simulation held at the State Capitol, June 12 to 15. Student senators will sponsor bills, conduct committee hearings, debate legislation and learn about the unique process of our unicameral system. UNL’s Extension 4-H Youth Development Office coordinates housing and recreational activities for the camp. Registration forms can be obtained at NebraskaLegislature.gov/uyl. The scholarship application deadline is April 5.

Again, I encourage you to contact me with your thoughts on legislation that is before senators. I can be reached at District #40, P.O. Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509. My email address is [email protected] and my telephone number is 402-471-2801.

 

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