Daylight saving time has been around since World War I to conserve energy, but these days it seems to serve little practical purpose. So why not get simply get rid off it?
If Washington state Rep. Elizabeth Scott (R-Monroe) had her way, she would.
Scott is the lead sponsor of a new bill (HB 1479) that would eliminate daylight saving time and keep the state on the same time year-round.
“The idea was brought to me by some constituents who asked why are we still doing this, it’s so annoying,” says Scott.
She went in search of a good reason to keep daylight saving time, and couldn’t find one. Scott had heard it was in part to give farmers longer daylight in the evenings during the summer. But it turns out most farmers actually start their day with the sun, so an earlier sunrise is more beneficial.
“The first people I reached out to ask their opinions was farmers in Snohomish and Skagit counties in my district, and the ones I reached out to said we don’t care, it doesn’t matter to us, we have lights on our tractors,” says Scott.
Daylight saving time was first implemented in the United States during World War I to reduce the use of artificial lighting. It was not observed again nationwide until World War II, according to one of a number of petition drives aimed at convincing Congress to end it.
Scott says she hasn’t heard any opposition to her proposal, but admits she was surprised it actually got a hearing given the lack of clamor for a change.
“I just kind of threw out it out there like well let’s see if anybody bites,” she says.
Arizona and Hawaii are currently the only two states that don’t observe daylight saving time, which isn’t mandated by the federal government.
Utah is among several states considering the elimination of daylight saving time, National Geographic reports.
The biggest opposition seems to be from the tourism and recreation industries, which benefit from longer daylight hours and have pushed to make daylight saving time permanent.
“For example, the Golf Alliance for Utah estimated that dropping DST would reduce play by 6 percent during peak season, and cost Utah’s economy $24 million each year, and they claim that is a very conservative estimate,” Michael O’Malley with the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development told National Geographic.
“It would still be light until nine,” counters Scott.
The lawmaker argues the time change repeatedly messes with people’s bodies and schedules, and having daylight last until 10 during the summer but darkness taking over at 4 o’clock in the winter makes no sense.
“It varies so widely here in the Pacific Northwest that it’s not really based on the clock to begin with,” she says.
The House Committee on State Government will hold a hearing on Scott’s proposal Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.