BISMARCK — North Dakota senators passed a bill Monday, Feb. 8, that aims to get the state on year-round daylight saving time just days after the legislation had failed in a narrow floor vote.
Senate Bill 2201 passed 36-11 after receiving a substantial amendment by its lead sponsor, Sen. Jason Heitkamp, R-Wahpeton, that would ensure North Dakota's time alignment with neighboring states. Before Heitkamp's amendment, the bill was defeated by the razor-thin margin of one vote on Friday.
States must receive Congressional approval to switch to year-round daylight saving time observance. Thirteen states have already adopted legislation that would make the change, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, and are waiting on the OK from Congress.
Opponents of the bill expressed concerns last week that adhering to daylight saving time year-round would put North Dakota out of line with surrounding states, creating an inconvenience for residents in border cities like Fargo and Grand Forks.
With Heitkamp's amendment, the version of the bill passed by senators on Monday would require North Dakota to wait for the same time standard to be adopted by Minnesota, Montana and South Dakota before going into effect.
Proponents of the switch argued it would eliminate the unnecessary inconvenience around the twice-yearly ritual of changing the clocks and help to alleviate seasonal depression that can be exacerbated by the early winter sunsets in northern states like North Dakota.
The bill was reintroduced on Monday by Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg, who was absent for the original floor vote. A similar bill has been introduced on the House side but has not yet been considered on the floor.
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