New bill to keep Washington in standard time provides way around need for federal approval
Washington has been waiting on federal approval for a 2019 bill seeking to keep the state in Daylight Saving Time permanently. After two years of waiting, state lawmakers will soon consider legislation to keep the state in standard time year-round instead.
That comes in the form of a newly-proposed bill from state Sen. Jim Honeyford, filed in the state Legislature this week. If passed, it would keep Washington in standard time “until congress authorizes states to observe daylight saving time year-round.”
In order to stay in Daylight Saving Time, states either need a federal waiver from Congress or approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Staying in standard time, though, requires no such approval, and can be implemented immediately at the state level should Honeyford’s bill pass in the 2022 legislative session.
If it’s approved, the bill also suggests that Washington explore shifting from Pacific Standard Time to Mountain Standard Time to help mitigate “the potential impact” staying in standard time might have on neighboring states and communities.
Ending the state’s twice-yearly time changes goes beyond the convenience of not having to change your clocks. According to research cited by Honeyford, “changing to and from daylight saving time twice per year has negative impacts on public health, increases traffic accidents and crime, disrupts agriculture scheduling, and hinders economic growth.”
“Scientific studies have connected a number of health consequences with the act of switching between standard time and daylight saving time, including greater risks of heart attacks, more frequent workplace injuries, and increased suicide rates in the days immediately following the switch,” the bill reads.
At the federal level, Washington Senator Patty Murray has continued to push for the Sunshine Protection Bill in Congress, which would keep the entire country in Daylight Saving Time year-round. She also has previously said she is “vigorously pursuing” a potential workaround to have the U.S. Department of Transportation grant Washington state’s long-awaited waiver, although there has been little movement on that front.
Other states and territories that currently observe standard time year-round include Arizona, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Minor Outlying Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.