Bill Would Eliminate Time Changes In WA, State History Checkered
A bipartisan bill in the state legislature would eliminate the twice-yearly time change between standard to daylight savings time in Washington.
Spokane Valley Republican Senator Mike Padden has a bipartisan bill that would keep Washington on standard time permanently.
He says the public is unified in its view of time changes.
“One thing that I think most people agree on, it’s the dislike of moving their clock backward and forward,” said Padden. “Ya know, spring forward, fall back.”
Padden’s measure, SB 5795, received a hearing Tuesday in the Senate Committee on State Government & Elections, and is awaiting further action.
Meanwhile, state Senate staff conducted research into the background of time changes in Washington and came up with many twists and turns dating back to the 1930s.
According to Senate staff, Seattle was the first city in Washington to adopt daylight saving time in 1933, with Spokane and other cities following Seattle's example.
But a snag developed when differences in observance of the time change led to difficulties in sustaining train routes, business and office hours, and ferry routes.
The cities abandoned the experiment with the time change, and all returned to standard time shortly afterward.
Then, according to Senate staff, about 40 percent of the country was observing summer daylight saving by 1947.
The next year, Seattle re-implemented daylight-saving time, along with much of the western part of the state.
By 1949, Seattle voters had approved a referendum for daylight saving to continue, with other Washington cities following the lead.
But according to Senate staff research, voters wobbled back and forth on the time change over the next decade.
In 1952, state voters outlawed daylight saving with a robust 60 percent of the ballot.
But as more states began to adopt the time change throughout the 1950s, Washington became an outlier.
In 1960, 52 percent of state voters passed Initiative 210, which brought back daylight-saving time.
In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act to "promote the adoption and observance of uniform time within the standard time zones"
Fast forward to 2019, the Washington Legislature passed SHB 1196, allowing the state to observe daylight saving time year-round.
According to state Senate researchers, 19 states have since passed legislation or resolutions supporting year-round daylight-saving time.
But implementing the policy requires approval from Congress, which has not acted on the time change to date.
The bill currently in the legislature from Senator Padden would move Washington from standard to daylight savings time if Congress amends federal law to authorize the change.
Padden says scientific studies show time changes are bad for people’s health.
“Greater risks of heart attacks, more workplace injuries, and a number of things,” Padden said. “I just think the rhythms of life go better if we’re on something permanent, be it daylight or standard time.”
The bill is co-sponsored by seven Republicans and five Democrats in the Senate - Manka Dhingra (D), Phil Fortunato (R), Jeff Holy (R), John Lovick (D), Jim McCune (R), T'wina Nobles (D), Shelly Short (R), Nikki Torres (R), Yasmin Trudeau (D), Kevin Van De Wege (D), Jeff Wilson (R), Lynda Wilson (R)
(Washington State Senate Republican Caucus Audio/Video Coordinator Tracy Ellis contributed to this story)