Washington State Considers Opting Out Of Daylight Saving Time

nitonito

A bill introduced by the Washington state Senate would withdraw the state from the biannual ritual of switching clocks forward and backward along with most of the country, MyNorthwest reports. If passed, Washington will “spring forward” one last time in March, and then stay there. At that point the state would remain on daylight saving time indefinitely.

“Research has shown that changing to and from daylight saving time twice per year has negative impacts on public health, increases traffic accidents and crime, disrupts agriculture scheduling, and hinders economic growth,” the text of the bill reads.

Also, according to the language of the bill, studies have shown a variety of physical and mental health consequences associated with moving between standard and daylight saving time, including higher risk of heart attack, an increase in workplace injuries, and higher rates of suicide immediately following the switch.

On that note, Senator Sam Hunt, Senator Kevin Van De Wege, and Senator Jim Honeyford have proposed that Washington opt out of the clock-switching routine altogether.

Expressing a similar sentiment, California voters recently rejected the long-standing tradition through the Proposition 7 ballot initiative, which asked their state congress to vote on ending time changes. The measure passed with 60 percent of the vote.

Unfortunately for time-change opponents in both Washington and California, neither state is authorized to opt out without a change in the federal law that would allow states to observe daylight saving time year-round at their own discretion. The legislation currently under consideration in each state would simply express their intent to make the change, should Congress amend the existing code standardizing timekeeping across the country.

That amendment remains undecided.

Alternatively, Washington could also petition the Department of Transportation to allow the change. This would add Washington to a handful of other states and territories already observing daylight saving time year-round, including American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Minor Outlying Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Similarly, Arizona observes standard time year-round.

Aside from a widely held public preference not to turn the clocks forward and back, Washington’s stake in the matter is compounded by the 4 p.m. sunset that occurs in much of the state during winter’s standard time. Keeping clocks at daylight saving time permanently would give residents an extra hour of sunlight during those bleakest of months.