#DitchTheSwitch: Year-round daylight saving time measure clears Senate

OLYMPIA – The state Senate voted overwhelmingly tonight to put Washington state on year-round daylight saving time. House Bill 1196, which passed on a 46-2 vote, was already approved by the House last month.

“The people of Washington have said they want to #DitchTheSwitch, and passing this bill sends that message loud and clear to the other Washington,” said Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, who sponsored the bill.

The idea for the bill  came to Riccelli originally from a health care angle. A health impact review from the Washington State Department of Health discusses the effects of changing clocks twice a year on the body’s circadian rhythms. The switch is associated with a spike in heart attacks, strokes, and even traffic collisions each year.

Washington is already on daylight saving time eight months out of the year.

There’s also the issue of youth outdoor activities getting cut short when the switch back to standard time occurs. Riccelli says extended daylight allows kids to play recreational or school sports outdoors into the evening.

“At a time when childhood obesity rates are rising, anything that supports physical activity for kids is good for the health of our next generation,” Riccelli said.

The Senate passed the bill with an amendment that was added in committee. This means it heads back to the House one last time for concurrence before going to the governor’s desk for signature. But the federal government gets to make the final determination on whether Washington state can finally #DitchTheSwitch.

Congressional allies include Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, who have expressed support for a conversation about year-round daylight saving time for Washington at the federal level.