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SC wants to keep clocks on daylight savings, but an act of Congress needed next

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A bill heading to Gov. Henry McMaster's desk would keep South Carolina on daylight savings time, if Congress allows. File

COLUMBIA — South Carolina intends to spring forward an hour and not fall back under a bill heading to Gov. Henry McMaster's desk. 

But it will literally take an act of Congress to make the Palmetto State's intent to stay on daylight savings time a reality. 

The House gave final approval this week to a bill establishing what South Carolina would do if Congress allows states to ignore the twice-a-year time change. 

McMaster's office said Thursday he will sign it, which will make it the first new law of the 2020 session.  

"It doesn't make sense to change the clocks twice a year," said the bill's sponsor, Senate President Harvey Peeler. "We don't change time. We just change the clock."

While some joke about the bill, the Gaffney Republican said it's not at all tongue-in-cheek. His effort has gotten a thumbs up from residents across the state.     

"These are things that impact people's lives," Peeler said. "At least South Carolina is taking a stand. Choose a time and keep it." 

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South Carolina alone can’t decide to secede from the biannual clock resetting. Congress must approve exempting the state from the Uniform Time Act of 1966, the law governing daylight savings. Two states, Hawaii and most of Arizona, have never participated.

Florida, California and Tennessee are among states that have passed similar daylight savings-extending bills. But legislation in Congress has gone nowhere.

Clocks across the nation must be moved up an hour on March 8. Daylight savings ends on Nov. 1.

S.C. legislators have previously proposed asking residents whether they want to skip daylight savings time altogether.

But Peeler said the people he heard from preferred staying an hour ahead. The additional hour of sunlight is preferred by tourists, too, as well as golfers in-state and out.     

"Any tourist state would want it," said Peeler, a dairy farmer. "They used to blame it on agriculture. We like that extra daylight, too." 

Follow Seanna Adcox on Twitter at @seannaadcox_pc.

Assistant Columbia bureau chief

Adcox returned to The Post and Courier in October 2017 after 12 years covering the Statehouse for The Associated Press. She previously covered education for The P&C. She has also worked for The AP in Albany, N.Y., and for The Herald in Rock Hill.

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