Sen. Jim Honeyford (far left), R-Sunnyside, stands to speak on March 12 on the Senate floor at the Capitol in Olympia as an early advocate of permanent daylight saving time. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Sen. Jim Honeyford (far left), R-Sunnyside, stands to speak on March 12 on the Senate floor at the Capitol in Olympia as an early advocate of permanent daylight saving time. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Legislature OKs step toward year-round daylight saving time

Federal law allows a switch to permanent standard time, but the reverse requires congressional approval.

OLYMPIA — The Legislature has approved a measure to make daylight saving time permanent in the state if federal law is changed to allow it.

On 90-6 vote Tuesday, the state House approved a bill incorporating changes made by the Senate. The measure now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee. A spokeswoman said neither he nor his staff have yet reviewed the bill.

None of the dissenting votes was from Snohomish County. Co-sponsors of the House version of the bill included Lillian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukilteo; Carolyn Eslick, R-Sultan; and John Lovick, D-Mill Creek.

Eslick said she often wished the clocks wouldn’t have to be changed each spring and fall during her two decades of owning a restaurant in Sultan. Inevitably, at least one employee would show up an hour late or an hour early, she said.

Mainly, she said, she likes the idea of more family time.

“It can be daylight longer all year long,” she said.

Or, as Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, put it: “Finally we can hashtag: Ditch the switch, bring the light and the future in Washington is so bright we’ve got to wear shades.”

Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, said switching clocks twice a year simply “is unnecessary in this day and age.”

Still, it will take an act of Congress — and there are no guarantees.

While federal law allows states to opt into standard time permanently — which Hawaii and Arizona have done — the reverse is prohibited and requires congressional action.

For Washington, permanent Pacific Daylight Time would be equivalent to switching to permanent Mountain Standard Time — like Arizona.

Florida passed a similar measure last year, and in November, California voters passed a ballot measure to permit the Legislature to establish daylight saving time year-round if federal law changes. A bill was introduced there a month after the election.

More than 30 states are considering legislation related to the practice of changing clocks twice a year, according the National Conference of State Legislatures.

According to Washington proponents of a permanent switch, the purported reason daylight saving was invented, to save energy, is questionable these days. And recent studies say time changes result in more car crashes, workplace injuries, heart attacks and illness, as well as higher rates of depression.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

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