Bill to Permanently Establish Daylight Saving Time in Tennessee Heads to the Governor for Signature

A bill that establishes Daylight Saving Time as the standard time for the entire state, having passed the state Senate on Tuesday, will go to Governor Bill Lee for his consideration.

By a vote of 29 to 1, the Senate passed the House version of the bill, HB 0247. The House passed the bill on April 22 by a vote of 86 Ayes, 5 Nays and 5 Present and Not Voting.

The measure was sponsored by Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) and Representative Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg).

Before going into effect, three conditions must be met:

  • U.S. Congress amending or repealing that portion of the Uniform Time Act;
  • Tennessee’s Commissioner of Transportation certifying in writing to the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Representatives the Congressional action; and
  • by joint resolution, the Tennessee General Assembly confirming the Congressional action and authorizing the year-round implementation of the State’s observation of Daylight Saving Time

Both sponsors of the Tennessee bill said during its course through the legislative process that the passage is largely a symbolic message to Washington, D.C., joining with numerous other states that have taken similar measure in hopes of prompting a response.

The U.S. Department of Transportation oversees the country’s time zones as well as the uniform observance of Daylight Saving Time, because time standards are important for many modes of transportation, according to the Department’s website.

Daylight Saving Time falls under the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which provides that either Congress or the Secretary of Transportation can change a time-zone boundary.

Under the Uniform Time Act, states that observe Daylight Saving Time must begin and end the observance on federally mandated dates, although states can be exempted from the observance by state law. Only Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and most of Arizona do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

A Business Insider report that looked at various studies on the health impacts from the “spring forward” of Daylight Saving Time, found that there is an uptick in cardiac arrests, traffic accidents and accidents at work. In fact, Representative Tillis said that the legislation was brought to him by a constituent whose autistic child was negatively impacted by the clock changes.

Throughout the process, concern was expressed by legislators in both houses relative to Tennessee’s eight surrounding states and whether they would follow suit with the full-time establishment of Daylight Saving Time.  As such, they appreciated the bill’s amendment that provided the final step of a joint resolution before permanent implementation of full-time Daylight Saving Time.

The Governor can sign the legislation into law, veto the legislation which takes a simple majority in each house to override the veto, or allow the bill to become law after 10 days without signature.

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Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Tennessee Star.
Photo “Steve Dickerson” by Steve Dickerson. Background Photo “Tennessee Capitol” by Bill Lee. 






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3 Thoughts to “Bill to Permanently Establish Daylight Saving Time in Tennessee Heads to the Governor for Signature”

  1. John B Pennington

    Any updates on this Bill?

    1. Laura Baigert

      The bill was signed into law by Governor Bill Lee n May 2019. Numerous other states have passed similar legislation.

      It will literally take an act of Congress or the Secretary of Transportation to enact the change nationwide.

  2. Bobby

    So if I read this correctly, because ONE kid has a problem, we are now going to endanger EVERY other child in the whole state?

    Here’s a little history lesson for our obviously historically impaired lawmakers. We tried keeping daylight savings time year round once before, but got rid of it almost immediately because no one thought to look at a sunrise table beforehand. The problem was children were having to catch the school bus in total DARKNESS, a highly dangerous situation. As a school bus driver, if this stupidity were in use this year, come January I would be letting my kindergartners off at school precisely at sunrise. Wonder how many of them will have to DIE this time from being hit by cars speeding past on the way to work before this ignorance this also is consigned to the trash heap of history? All because ONE kid had a problem! Why not come at it the other way, which is already allowable under the law, and stop observing daylight savings time instead? I know, that would make to much sense.