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How the West Coast could abolish daylight saving time

Washington state may join Oregon and California in abolishing daylight savings time. (John Davey, Flickr)
LISTEN: How the West Coast could abolish daylight savings time

The semiannual tradition of turning clocks back-and-forth an hour for daylight saving time is usually followed by yet another tradition — questioning why we even do it.

Now, a Washington state senator wants to change that and nix daylight saving time altogether. It’s been proposed before, but Senator Jim Honeyford has backup this time — Oregon and California.

Related: The last time Washington tried to nix daylight savings time

“Research I’ve found indicates that all kinds of problems are associated with the changing of an hour forward or back,” Honeyford told KIRO Radio’s Tom and Curley. “My goal was to eliminate that change and stay on Pacific Standard Time year round. Emails I got from people indicated that they don’t like the changing, but they would like to stay on daylight saving time. It doesn’t matter to me which it is, I just want to get rid of the semi-annual changes.”

Past efforts to abolish daylight saving time in Washington have not gone anywhere. Honeyford said a new bill will be drafted and brought forth next season; one that will work in tandem with Oregon and California. Honeyford has been in talks with other West Coast state legislators who want to abolish the semi-annual time shifts, and set all three states to Mountain Standard Time. This would essentially keep Washington on daylight saving time permanently — the Northwest would never fall back again.

Honeyford is working with the federal government to petition the feds to abolish time changes.

“That would allow us time to work in the three states,” he said. “I want to have built in there a grace period for businesses to make any adjustments they have to make for the time change. I was thinking airline schedules, times like those they have to modify. And I’d advertise it through government publications so people realize what is happening.”

A switch to Mountain Standard Time would mean that Washington would keep the same hours as parts of Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico. The timing would even stretch as far east as parts of North and South Dakota, and Nebraska.

Daylight saving time

Why daylight saving time has maintained such a hold on parts of the United States remains debatable, Honeyford said. For example, he has heard arguments about farmers needing the change for agricultural reasons.

“I think that’s an urban legend,” Honeyford said. “Farmers get up at daybreak, when the sun shines, and they work until it’s dark. Sometimes they work with flashlights. So it’s no benefit to the farmer.”

Other accounts indicate that the time changes stuck after the world wars as a means to conserve energy.

There is some evidence to suggest that health is affected negatively by the time changes twice a year. It is argued that heart attacks increase on the day after people spring forward an hour and lose sleep.

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