Calif. Voters Could Decide|Fate of Daylight Savings

     SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — California moved closer Thursday to scrapping daylight-saving time in favor of a year-round standard after a proposal hurdled the Senate Appropriations Committee and was cleared for a Senate floor vote.
     Assembly Bill 385 by Assemblyman Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, would create a ballot measure for voters to decide whether to remove the biannual time shifts. Golden State voters approved switching to daylight-saving time in 1949, in pursuit of improved worker safety and reducing crime.
     Hawaii and parts of Arizona and Indiana are the only states that don’t observe daylight-saving time. If California voters approve the time swap, it would need to be cleared by the federal government.
     Chu says daylight-saving time can exacerbate public health issues. He points to studies showing that the number of heart attacks, workplace injuries and traffic accidents increase shortly after a time change.
     “Daylight-saving time is an institution that has been in place largely without question for more than half a century,” Chu said in a statement. “I think we owe it to the general public to be given the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not it ought to be continued.”
     First implemented during World War I to save energy, it appears daylight-saving time’s usefulness in that regard has run out. Studies conducted in Indiana by National Bureau of Economic Research revealed that Indiana residents pay an additional $9 million per year in energy costs because of daylight-saving time.
     So far the bill has received widespread and bipartisan support in the Legislature, and it cleared the Assembly in May unanimously. It faces a final vote in the Senate later this month.
     The bill would carry general fund costs up to $500,000 to place it on the 2018 statewide ballot.
     It has not been officially opposed by any interest groups.

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