Jan 23, 2024 - News

Bill to abolish daylight saving time filed in Washington

A street clock in Seattle. Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

A group of state lawmakers is making another pitch to get Washington off the twice-a-year time-changing seesaw, but this time with a proposal to adopt permanent standard time instead of daylight saving time.

Driving the news: Sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) and 12 other senators from both sides of the aisle, Senate Bill 5795 would exempt the state from daylight saving time by implementing year-round Pacific standard time.

Why it matters: Experts agree that switching the clock back and forth affects our mental and physical health, but the debate is ongoing about which is best long-term: permanent daylight saving time, year-round standard time or the status quo.

  • Standard time advocates, including many sleep experts and medical societies, support standard time because it more closely aligns with natural light and promotes circadian rhythm alignment.
  • Supporters of daylight saving time, like Steve Calandrillo of the University of Washington School of Law, say more light in the evening contributes to lower crime and better outdoor recreation.

Catch up quick: Washington legislators overwhelmingly passed a bill in 2019 to stay on permanent daylight saving time and the governor signed it.

  • But unlike staying on standard, which can be unilaterally decided by a state, moving to permanent DST requires congressional approval.
  • In 2018, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the Sunshine Protection Act to make daylight saving permanent nationwide. It passed the Senate in 2022, but never came up for a vote in the House.
  • It was reintroduced in both chambers of Congress last year but never moved out of committee.

What they're saying: "We've waited and waited and waited ... We're tired of the switch," said Padden.

What we're watching: Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) said Washingtonians remain interested in ditching the switch and the bill would get "air time" and serious consideration, though he said his impression is that daylight saving time is more popular than standard.

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