Duma may consider daylight savings bill early next week – health committee head

Analog Clock Artist's Rendition

(Interfax – January 14, 2014) Duma deputies are ready to vote for the re-introduction of daylight savings time even if the decision is not backed by the government, the Russian State Duma said.

“Since the government is not in a hurry, it means there will be the law aiming to bring all constituent regions of the Federation as close as possible to their astronomical time,” State Duma Health Committee head Sergei Kalashnikov told Interfax on Tuesday.

He was commenting on a statement by Prime Minister Press Secretary Natalya Timakova who told Interfax that the government was not preparing any documents to re-introduce daylight savings time.

I personally intend to introduce the bill in the State Duma on January 20 and hope it will be signed by a great number of deputies representing all four parliamentary factions, Kalashnikov said

The decision to bring the Russian constituent regions to daylight savings – their astronomical, to be more accurate – time is long overdue and, certainly, the parliament will put a very heavy pressure for such a decision the committee head said.

Russian regions are positioned differently with respect to their astronomical time, which is exactly why the deputies were counting on the government to deal with the issue and pass a resolution, he said. In that case it would not be necessary for the State Duma to pass a special bill, the parliamentarian said. But for now, it appears that deputies must take the initiative upon themselves, Kalashnikov said.

There will be no change for those regions which continue living according to the astronomical time. “They will go on as normal, we shall not bother them,” he said.

The situation will change for the eleven regions which have this inconsistency; the clock will be moved back by one hour. Also, some constituent regions of the Federation have a two-hour gap between the astronomical and the currently effective time, Kalashnikov said. “It will no longer be the case,” he said.

As far back as the early fall I called on my colleagues – deputies representing various parliamentary factions – to set up a joint work team in order to resolve the problem, the committee head recalled. “Many deputies expressed their willingness to join this, and I hope that next Monday the bill will find many authors,” he said.

The resolution proposed by the bill today is being backed by many in the State Duma, including the Just Russia, Liberal Democratic and Communist factions, and some of the United Russia deputies, the committee head said. “At least, I have learnt about 20 representatives of the parliamentary majority who have insisted on the need to bring the regions back to astronomical time,” Kalashnikov said.

Among the United Russia faction, not only these 20 deputies will be ready to back the Duma’s time bill, he said.

“There is simply no more argument in support of the current situation, especially after Rospotrebnadzor (Russian Federal Service for Health and Consumer Rights) published data about the negative impact of what is effectively the summer time currently established in all the Russian constituent regions,” Kalashnikov said.