Has Washington finally done its last ‘spring forward’? Lawmakers are hoping so
On Sunday, Washingtonians joined most of the country in setting their clocks forward. Almost two years after state lawmakers passed a bill to keep the state in Daylight Saving Time permanently, the wheels are turning yet again to ensure that measure finally gets enacted.
Current laws require a federal waiver for any state wishing to remain Daylight Saving Time full-time, which has kept Washington in a holding pattern since 2019. As the state bill’s sponsor, Rep. Marcus Riccelli, points out, the approval of that waiver continues to be entirely dependent on either Congress or the Secretary of Transportation taking swift action in the months to come.
Perhaps a better bet, though, could be Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s reintroduction of the Sunshine Protection Act. Rubio’s bill — which was co-sponsored by Washington Sen. Patty Murray on the last go-around in 2020 — would keep the entire country in Daylight Saving Time. With lawmakers focused largely on the COVID crisis, it didn’t make it past its introduction in the Senate last year.
Proponents of permanent Daylight Saving Time have pointed to a series of benefits, including reduced crime rates, fewer vehicular accidents, and better overall health. The hope is that with the latest — and likely last — large-scale COVID relief bill now passed, the focus can now turn to what’s proven to be a widely popular concept.
“It’s the overwhelming will of the people in Washington state to make Daylight Savings Time permanent,” Sen. Murray said over the weekend, vowing to push for this latest spring forward to be the final one the country participates in.
It’s the overwhelming will of the people in Washington state to make Daylight Savings Time permanent—so I will keep working to ensure that tomorrow is the last time you’ll ever have to set your clock forward an hour.
— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) March 14, 2021
Promises like that have also been frequent since Washington passed its permanent DST legislation, but with 15 states now having passed similar laws, the hope is that there will be enough momentum to finally push it across the finish line nationally.
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.