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Washington, Oregon Lawmakers Propose To Abolish Daylight Saving Time

Paul Eggert
Wikimedia Commons
On this map, the blue areas observe DST, the red areas never have and the orange areas have in the past, but currently do not.


Some Washington and Oregon legislators want to end the yearly practice of springing forward and falling back.

A state senator from Oregon and a state representative from Washington both say they were moved into action by complaints from annoyed constituents. Republican Rep. Elizabeth Scott presented a long list to a house committee in Olympia on Tuesday.

"It's still a hassle to change all the clocks,” Scott said. “It is a hassle for parents whose young children and teenagers don't automatically adjust to the time changes. It is a hassle for pet owners whose pets wake them an hour early."

Scott also raised health and safety concerns. "A 2009 study found that on Monday's after the switch, workers sleep an average of 40 minutes less and are injured at work more often and more severely," she said.

However, Scott's bill to stay on standard time year-round may be living on borrowed time.

"I love the long evenings in the summer," House State Government Committee chairman Sam Hunt said. "That's one of the advantages of living in the Northwest."

Hunt, a Democrat, said he is not inclined to bring the bill up for a vote.

In Olympia, no one besides Rep. Scott testified either for or against the proposed abolishment of daylight saving time. Chairman Hunt took that a sign that the issue is "not of burning interest" to the public or businesses.

The Oregon version of this concept includes a referendum to give voters the final say. In Salem, Republican Sen. Kim Thatcher sponsored the year-round standard time measure. Her bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

Currently, most of the nation shifts to daylight saving time to extend the light in the evenings from the second Sunday in March through the first Sunday in November.

Daylight saving time started during World War I as a strategy to save energy. Observance of the time shift by states is optional under federal law. Hawaii and Arizona remain on standard time year-round.

Washington and Oregon are among nine states around the country where bills are pending in the state legislature to abolish daylight saving time. Others where the clock is ticking include Alaska, Utah and Texas.

In 2012, eight Idaho state representatives co-sponsored a bill to bail out of daylight saving time, but it didn't go anywhere.

A complicating factor in Idaho is that the state is divided into two time zones. One of the sponsors acknowledged to the Twin Falls newspaper at the time that she heard concerns about potentially disrupting cross-border relationships along Idaho's western border. Nearby cities such as Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Spokane, Washington could end up on different time if states went their own way instead of waiting for a national solution.

Correspondent Tom Banse is an Olympia-based reporter with more than three decades of experience covering Washington and Oregon state government, public policy, business and breaking news stories. Most of his career was spent with public radio's Northwest News Network, but now in semi-retirement his work is appearing on other outlets.