Permanent daylight saving time measure signed by governor

OLYMPIA – With the stroke a pen, Washington state is telling Congress it wants to be on daylight saving time year-round.

Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), sponsored HB 1196, which passed both the state House and Senate with wide majorities and was signed by the governor today. It allows Washington to remain on daylight saving time all year, if Congress gives its approval.

“I’ve said all along it’s time to ditch the switch, bring the light, and defeat the dark night,“ Riccelli said. “This bill got a lot of support because Washingtonians recognize we’re already on daylight saving time eight months out of the year, and there are negative impacts to switching back and forth twice a year. In fact, that’s where the idea for this bill originally came from.”

Riccelli, who sits on the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, initially looked at the issue 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.

Additionally, extended daylight in the evening can help support more outdoor activity after school and in the evenings, such as recreational and competitive sports for kids. At a time when childhood obesity rates are rising, year-round daylight saving time can actually help support better health for the next generation, Riccelli says.

Now it’s up to Congress to act on the measure. HB 1196 sends a strong signal that the people of Washington want year-round daylight saving time, and Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray have both expressed support for bringing the conversation to the federal level.