Bill to change New Mexico Daylight Saving Time getting traction

SANTA FE (KRQE) – What if you never had to change your clocks again?

KRQE News 13 first reported in January about a new  proposal to change Daylight Saving Time in New Mexico. Now, with the fresh time shift, the idea is gaining traction in the New Mexico Legislature and it’s clear non-lawmaking New Mexicans also have a lot to say about the idea, many in support so far.

According to a KRQE.com poll, the time change fatigue seems to have set in for New Mexicans. We asked, “Should New Mexico change time zones and ignore Daylight Saving Time for good?” As of 10 p.m. on Monday, March 9, 592 people or 65 percent voted in support of the idea. Thirty-one percent, or 283 people, voted against it. Twenty-five votes came in from people who “didn’t care.”

The clock might be one of the easier things to change, but the hardest thing for everyone to get used to this week.

“I was totally late bringing the kids to school, it just throws you off,” said Desirae Quintana of Albuquerque.

“I was just like, oh crud, I lost an hour of sleep, darn it!” said CNM student Megan Holland.

“It took me a little while to get ready to go today,” said Jacob Lujan of Albuquerque.

Switching an hour forward to Daylight Saving Time doesn’t get too many people excited, including Roswell Republican Sen. Cliff Pirtle.

“I might have had an extra Red Bull today,” said Sen. Pirtle.

With just less than two weeks left in the 2015 New Mexico legislative session, Sen. Pirtle is still backing Senate Bill 377, which will change time once and for all in New Mexico.

“Essentially we will be moved into the Central Time Zone where we will then be exempted from Daylight Savings, and we will remain on Central Standard Time,” said Sen. Pirtle.

Did you get that? The bill would make it so New Mexicans wouldn’t change the hour on their clocks ever again (unless the batteries run low).

“Just leave it!” suggested Desirae Quintana in support of the bill.

“I wouldn’t really mind,” said Dale Calabaza of Albuquerque.

“I’m all for not switching,” said Kelley Schnepple of Albuquerque.

But the bill means depending on the time of year, New Mexico’s time would match a very different set of states. If it passes, the bill means from March through October, New Mexico’s clocks would match mountain states, or states like Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Colorado.

However, from November through February, New Mexico’s time would match states to the east including Texas, Illinois, Louisiana.

“We’ll stay on mountain daylight year round,” said Sen. Cliff Pirtle.

Besides more light for longer in the evenings, some people see matching time with states to the east during the winter as a benefit. Megan Holland says it would help her call family over in Texas.

“I’d actually be able to call my mom before she’s asleep and know that she’s awake,” said Holland.

Others think it would make it harder for people outside of New Mexico to figure out the correct time here.

“That’s a little confusing I think, the switching of the whole time zones,” said Jacob Lujan.

The bill still has to clear the New Mexico Legislature though.

“I think we’ll get a little steam, especially after everyone’s groggy and grumpy after changing our clocks on Sunday,” said Sen. Pirtle.

The bill has already passed the Senate’s Public Affairs Committee. On Wednesday, the bill will go in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

If it passes, New Mexico would still need to get federal approval from the secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

According to Sen. Pirtle, Colorado is also gathering signatures right now to do the same thing as he has proposed for New Mexico.

NOTE: In the broadcast version of this story, the color of Arizona on a map illustrating time zones doesn’t change. Per it’s own state law, Arizona always stays in Mountain Standard Time.

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