House votes overwhelmingly to keep Washington on year-round daylight saving time

OLYMPIA – One the eve of “spring forward,” the state House voted in favor of a bill that would put Washington state on year-round daylight saving time. Sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, HB 1196 passed on a strong bipartisan vote of 89 to 7.

“It’s time to ditch the switch, bring the light, and defeat the dark night,“ Riccelli said. “Washington is already on daylight saving time eight months out of the year. There’s strong interest in making it permanent.”

Riccelli, who sits on the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, originally came to the bill from a health care perspective. A health impact review from the Washington State Department of Health discusses the effects of changing clocks twice a year on the body’s natural rhythms. The switch is associated with a spike in heart attacks, strokes, and even traffic collisions each year.

Riccelli also says that extended daylight in the evening is better for kids who play sports or want to be active outside.

“At a time when childhood obesity rates are rising, anything that supports physical activity for kids – whether it’s organized sports or just playing outside with friends – is good for the health of our next generation,” Riccelli said.

If HB 1196 makes it all the way through the Legislature, the state won’t automatically switch to year-round daylight saving time. That would be up to the federal government, which has to give permission to “ditch the switch.”

Riccelli says Senator Patty Murray has expressed interest in seeing the bill pass the legislature and having a federal conversation around the issue.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.