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Tuesday, March 26, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  WA Government

Washington state House votes for permanent daylight saving time

UPDATED: Sat., March 9, 2019, 9:15 p.m.

If some legislators have their way, time could be running out on the need to switch Washington clocks for daylight saving time.

Less than 12 hours before the official “spring forward,” the House approved Saturday a bill that proposes to keep the state on daylight time year-round.

Rep. Marcus Riccelli, the bill’s sponsor, said studies show an increase in traffic collisions and some medical problems like strokes after the semi-annual time changes.

“We’re on daylight saving time eight months of the year already,” Riccelli said. California, Oregon and Idaho all have movements to stay on daylight saving time year-round, he added.

“The interest is there,” he said, including in Celeste Simone’s third-grade class at Prairie View Elementary School in the Mead School District, where students have followed the progress of the bill ever since he visited to talk to them about bills before the Legislature. The latest count from the class shows students overwhelmingly in favor, he said.

Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, said the idea has been before the Legislature so many times that “it’s like deja vu all over again” but he urged the House to pass the bill.

“It’s good for health, it’s good for commerce. It may actually be good for America,” Shea said.

The bill was the last one to come up on an unusual Saturday session of the Legislature, although it wasn’t originally on the list of legislation to debate. After Riccelli collected a letter asking for a vote signed by 56 legislators, House leaders added it to their final list.

In a sign lawmakers were done with the weightier topics for the day, Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union, proposed a facetious amendment to add a provision that clocks east of the Cascades would be set 15 minutes ahead of those to the west, “to ensure the Cougs are always ahead.”

After the last line of the amendment – “Go Cougs” – was read by the clerk, MacEwen asked the amendment be withdrawn.

The Senate has a similar bill which could come up as early as Monday, when the effects of an hour less sleep from Sunday morning’s time change are still fresh on legislators minds. If it passes, lawmakers would have a chance to work out a compromise before the end of the session on April 28.

Even if one of the bills pass both chambers, however, that’s not the final word on ending year-round daylight saving time in Washington. Both are contingent on congressional approval to allow states to make such a switch.

Federal legislation to allow that was introduced Wednesday by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida. It currently only has one co-sponsor, fellow Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott, and awaits a hearing in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

But Riccelli said his office was contacted by the staff of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., about the state bills and possible support for the Rubio legislation.

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