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Permanent Daylight Saving bill passes in Olympia — here’s what’s next

One final "fall back" in Washington? (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A bill to keep Washington state in Daylight Saving Time permanently was passed by the Legislature Tuesday.

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Current laws require a waiver from Congress for any state wishing to remain in permanent Daylight Saving Time. A waiver is not required for states choosing to remain in Standard Time year-round. So, Washington will sit in a holding pattern, pending congressional approval.

Once Gov. Inslee signs the bill, here’s what the timeline looks like:

  • Washington’s clocks will continue to fall back and spring forward while it waits for Congress.
  • If approved by Congress, the measure would take effect on the first Sunday in the following November.
  • If federal authorization comes in between October 1 and the first Sunday of that November, the change will take effect in November of the following year.

The bill had moved back and forth between the House and Senate regarding a disagreement over whether to send the measure to voters. That particular measure died in committee in early-April.

Bipartisan supporters have touted the need to stop changing the clocks as both a safety and practical issue.

“I came to it from a health perspective. When the clocks get switched we see an increase in traffic collisions, we see an increase in strokes, heart attacks and other adverse health effects,” Rep. Marcus Riccelli explained back in March.

Washington state lawmakers have been working with Oregon to help draft its own version of this bill. California voted in favor of a similar ballot measure last November, making the only neighboring holdout Idaho, a state that exists partly in Mountain Time.

“If we can get all the western states lined up with a message to the federal government that we are really serious about considering this option, I think the feds will take it seriously,” Democratic Sen. Mark Mullet said in March.

The United States Congress is also currently considering a similar bill proposed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, that would be put the entire country on Daylight Saving Time for good.

Other states and territories that currently observe Daylight Saving Time year-round include American Samoa, Guam, the Minor Outlying Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Both Hawaii and Arizona (with the exception of tribal lands) observe standard time year-round.

California is currently awaiting both two-thirds approval in its Legislature and its own approval from Congress before it can move forward.

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