OLYMPIA – Washington has a fan of permanent daylight saving time in Congress.
During a roundtable discussion with Olympia reporters recently, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said she is committed to allowing states the option for year-round daylight saving time.
“I would love it,” said Murray, who regularly has to fly back and forth between multiple time zones between the two Washingtons. “It’s time to look at what works for business and what works for families.”
The state Senate and House each passed bills to maintain daylight saving as the state’s singular time. The Senate bill calls for a referendum on the change in November if Congress gives the approval to make the switch. The House bill would make the switch if Congress says yes, without putting it on the ballot.
If the Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee give final approval to one of the measures, Washington would join a movement with Florida and California as states seeking necessary congressional approval for year-round daylight saving time.
A bill introduced in the U.S. House would give states the ability to choose to observe year-round daylight saving time. Another bill, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would make daylight saving time permanent in the 48 states that observe it. Murray said she was willing to work with Rubio on his bill.
State Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, said he favors adopting daylight saving time as the sole time, and growing support for that in the Legislature could serve as a signal to the country.
It could also be a signal for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who said in an email that she is open to the idea if the Legislature ultimately approves one of the measures.
In a sign of the proposal’s scope and its ability to transcend partisan politics, President Donald Trump chimed in on the issue with a recent tweet: “Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!”
Oregon’s Legislature is considering several daylight saving time proposals, and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden is a co-sponsor of Rubio’s bill.
Idaho’s Legislature recently rejected a bill that would have nixed daylight saving time altogether and put the state on permanent standard time.
Staying on standard time appeals to some Washington residents like Sheila Howell, of Elk, who called daylight saving time “basically make-believe.”
“You’re just pretending you have more time,” Howell said.
She agrees that switching the clock twice a year leads to more accidents and health problems. But the human body’s rhythms are based more on standard time, and rural people aren’t such big fans of daylight time.
“You don’t change how your animals act. They’re tuned in to nature,” she said.
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