Proposal in Washington seeks to shift daylight saving time for earlier summer sunsets

This year, there is a proposal making its way through the Legislature that could potentially put an end to the tradition of Washingtonians moving their clocks ahead one hour for daylight saving time. If passed, this spring might be the last time this change is made.

A group of state lawmakers, from both parties, is advocating for the elimination of daylight saving time and the adoption of year-round Pacific Standard Time. Currently, daylight saving time is in effect from the first Sunday in November to the second Sunday in March.

Washington has had its fair share of debates regarding the biannual clock change.

In 2019, the state passed a law aiming to establish permanent daylight saving time, a preference shared by many legislators and individuals who appreciate longer evenings. However, for Washington’s law to be implemented, it requires approval from Congress, which currently does not show any indications of taking action on a federal policy.

State Senator Mike Padden, a Republican from Spokane Valley and the sponsor of the latest bill, expressed frustration with the prolonged delay. He emphasized that Washington State has undergone eight time switches since the initial approval of permanent daylight savings by lawmakers.


“We’re exhausted from the constant time change,” Padden expressed, as he addressed the Senate State Government and Elections Committee on Tuesday. “It is high time we provide people with a sense of stability when it comes to the time of year.”

Twelve co-sponsors, including Democratic Sen. Manka Dhingra of Redmond, have expressed their support for his legislation, Senate Bill 5795.

According to research, the transition between daylight saving time and standard time in the spring and fall can have a detrimental impact on our health. Many individuals find it challenging to readjust their sleep schedules and daily routines in the weeks following these time changes.

However, there is a difference of opinion regarding which option is better: permanent daylight saving time or permanent standard time. It is worth noting that Hawaii and Arizona are the only states that have opted for permanent standard time.

Permanent Pacific Standard Time would result in the sun rising and setting an hour earlier during the summer. For example, in western Washington, sunsets that currently occur around 9 p.m. would shift to 8 p.m., while sunrises that occur around 4 a.m. would also be pushed forward by an hour.

However, choosing to adhere to permanent standard time does not necessitate any intervention from Congress, unlike the implementation of year-round daylight saving time.

If a law is passed by Congress to allow permanent daylight saving time, Washington would switch to it under the new proposal.

Padden is collaborating with lawmakers in other states, including Oregon and Idaho, to pass similar proposals. This would ensure that clocks across the region remain synchronized and prevent Washington from being in its own time zone for part of the year.

There is a general consensus among the majority of individuals that the elimination of the time switch is necessary. However, experts hold differing opinions regarding which time option is more beneficial and safer for human health.

According to University of Washington health care and economics law professor Steve Calandrillo, there are trade-offs involved in this situation.

Calandrillo took it a step further by asserting that Washington should refrain from transitioning to permanent standard time and instead wait until it can implement permanent daylight saving time. He, along with other opponents of Padden’s proposal, maintained that more lives would be preserved if the state had additional daylight hours in the evening rather than the morning.

Permanent standard time opponents argue that the extra hours of evening daylight provide people with more opportunities for outdoor recreation and social activities.

Permanent standard time supporters argue that it closely aligns with the natural movements of the sun, which is in harmony with our internal clocks.

“The science behind it is quite evident,” explained Vishesh Kapur, a professor at the University of Washington and member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Our bodies have an internal biological clock that is regulated by sunlight. It naturally synchronizes with the sun when we adhere to standard time.”

The extent to which SB 5795 can make progress in a 60-day session, which is limited on time and filled with numerous other matters, is yet to be determined.

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, a Democrat from Spokane, expressed his caucus’s willingness to give serious consideration to the standard time proposal. However, he admitted that he is not as confident about its outcome as he was about switching to permanent daylight saving time.

The Washington State Standard has reported that there is a new proposal in Washington regarding daylight saving time. If this proposal is implemented, it would result in earlier summer sunsets.

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