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Should Washington stay in standard time? These lawmakers say 'yes'

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As lawmakers return to Olympia for the 2024 session, the Washington state Legislature is taking another run at eliminating the twice-yearly ritual of changing clocks.

“I’m working with colleagues in Oregon and California and they’re going to be trying to get similar legislation through their states so that the Pacific time zone, hopefully, could be all together on this," said state Sen. Mike Padden, a Spokane Valley Republican who wants to move Washington to year-round standard time.

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Padden’s bill (SB 5795) to place Washington in year-round standard time is co-sponsored by state Sen. Manka Dhingra, a Redmond Democrat. The measure would exempt Washington from participating in national daylight saving time. If approved, Washington would go into permanent standard time on Nov. 4.

The bill argues that daylight saving time has negative impacts ranging from poor health, increased traffic accidents, spikes in in crime, agricultural disruptions, and hindering economic growth.

"Scientific studies have connected a number of health consequences with the act of switching between standard time and daylight saving time, including greater risks of heart attacks, more frequent workplace injuries, and increased suicide rates in the days immediately after the switch," the bill states.

Standard time is what the region is currently in, with daylight fading earlier in the evening. Daylight saving time is the other option that kicks in during spring and lasts through summer. It includes daylight that stretches later into the evening.

Daylight saving time, with its lighter evening hours, is often preferred. Padden even prefers daylight saving time over standard time. In 2019, he supported a bill signed by Gov. Jay Inslee that would have put Washington permanently on daylight saving time. But that move requires approval from Congress, which hasn't happened.

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With no action from Congress, Padded now argues that stopping the time switch altogether is the most important action to take. Moving to standard time is something Washington state can do on its own.

This report was by Doug Nadvornick with Spokane Public Radio. KUOW's Dyer Oxley contributed to this version.

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