OLYMPIA — State Sen. Kevin Van De Wege is co-sponsoring legislation to put Washington state on record as favoring year-long daylight saving time, if Congress approves.
State Sen. Jim Honeyford, a Sunnyside Republican, teamed up with two Democrats, Van De Wege of Sequim — who represents the 24th Legislative District — and Sen. Sam Hunt of Olympia, to pre-file Senate Bill 5139 and Senate Bill 5140.
The bills would halt the spring-forward, fall-back cycle of clocks if Congress amends the Uniform Time Act to allow states the option of going onto daylight saving time year-round.
If the bills pass, then Washington state will join Florida and California in pushing for operating on daylight saving time all year long.
Florida passed the Sunshine Protection Act on March 5.
California voters approved Initiative 7 in November to make the shift, but to become law, the state Legislature has to approve it by a two-thirds vote and then Congress would have to approve it.
A similar bill is in the Tennessee Legislature this session.
The idea recently was shot down in Missouri.
The Washington state bills are a campaign promise Honeyford made just before the Nov. 6 general election.
He said business would benefit from a standardized time and that the twice-yearly shift between standard and daylight time leads to accidents and a rash of poor health and education outcomes.
Honeyford said he would team with a counterpart in Oregon — state Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer — to make the change in the Pacific Northwest.
Thatcher introduced a bill in 2015 for year-round daylight saving time and said in March 2018 that she would work with other state legislators to stay on it constantly.
As of Thursday, it doesn’t appear that she has introduced a similar bill so far this session.
The idea isn’t new in Washington either.
It has been introduced in the past but not approved. Other states in the past have had bills introduced for full-time daylight saving time.
They include Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
The biannual time shift for an entire nation was begun by Germany in 1916 to save energy during World War I, although residents of Canada’s Port Arthur, Ontario, now known as Thunder Bay, turned their clocks forward by one hour in July 1908, according to www.timeanddate.com.
After Germany, other nations followed suit, including the United States, but only for the duration of the war, the website said.
It was reinstated during World War II in the U.S., according to www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/e.html, which adds that from 1945 to 1966, individual localities could chose whether to make the switch, creating a muddle for railroads, airlines, bus companies and others.
The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established a system of uniform daylight saving time within time zones throughout the U.S. It exempted states that opted to remain fulltime on standard time.
Hawaii, and the overseas territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands do not observe daylight saving time.
Neither does the state of Arizona, although it gets dicey in the northeastern portion of the state, where the Navajo Nation does observe daylight savings time.
To confuse it further, the Hopi Reservation, which is surrounded by the Navajo Nation, sticks to standard time. So between March and November, the easiest way to know the time there is to ask.