Washington to ‘fall back’ again, as wait continues for permanent Daylight Saving Time
It’s been a year and a half since the Washington Legislature passed a bill to keep the state in Daylight Saving Time permanently. Since that was approved, though, the state has changed its clocks twice, and will soon go through the process a third time this weekend. So, why has it not taken effect yet?
It’s largely due to gridlock brought on by the ongoing COVID crisis, says state Rep. Marcus Riccelli, the original sponsor of the bill in Washington.
“I think it’s not necessarily rising to the top of people’s minds,” he told MyNorthwest.
In order to permanently remain in Daylight Saving Time, Washington requires federal approval — either in the form of Congress passing legislation, or by order of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
The lack of movement hasn’t been for lack of effort by some in the U.S. Senate. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill in mid-September called the “Sunshine Protection Act,” where he sought to halt 2020’s “fall back,” keeping the nation in Daylight Saving Time at least for the next year in hopes of removing an added disruption during the pandemic. Despite bipartisan support from 13 co-sponsors — including Washington Sen. Patty Murray — the bill failed to progress past its introduction in the Senate.
As for whether next spring could potentially be the final time we need to spring forward, Rep. Riccelli remains uncertain, but is tentatively hopeful.
“I think because there’s so much going on with the pandemic, I don’t know that this will rise to the level of either federal policy consideration or at various state legislatures, but if there are a number of other states that create momentum, that’s what we have to watch out for,” he said.
On the upside, many of the other requisite pieces remain in place pending federal approval. Oregon recently passed similar legislation to remain in Daylight Saving Time, provided Washington and California do so first. Idaho also agreed in early 2020 to move the northern half of its state into whatever time observance Washington ultimately lands on.
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.