‘More sunshine and less depression’: WA joins push for permanent Daylight Saving Time

Daylight saving time explained
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Daylight saving time is meant to decrease the amount of daylight in the morning hours, so that more daylight is available in the evening.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With people getting ready to “fall back” this weekend, setting clocks back one hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday, a Washington senator says it’s time to stop this practice and make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent across the U.S.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) called on the U.S. Senate to pass the Sunshine Protection Act.

LOCAL + VIDEO: Improve your sleep and prepare for Daylight Saving Time

“To put it simply, Americans want more sunshine and less depression. That’s why I am proud to be a cosponsor of the bipartisan Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 which would extend Daylight Saving Time permanently so Americans can enjoy having sunlight during their most productive hours of the day and never have to worry about changing their clocks again,” Murray said Thursday on the Senate floor.

Murray and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) are among 14 cosponsors of the bill by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Murray described DST as a “bipartisan issue that we can and should all get behind.”

RELATED: Permanent daylight saving in Oregon? ‘Hell yes,’ says Gov.

Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California are among the many states that have pushed for this:

  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a measure for permanent daylight saving time in 2019
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown did the same for her state; lawmakers said it will take effect after Washington and California change to year-round DST
  • California‘s bill is still in legislative limbo, and Congress would have to approve before the three coastal states can get rid of the annual spring-forward, fall-back clock changes
  • Idaho has two time zones (panhandle in Pacific time, southern part in Mountain time) and lawmakers said last year that if Washington gets permanent DST, north Idaho will, too

While pushing for this federal law, Murray is also trying another avenue: asking the Biden administration for a federal waiver under executive authority.

“For goodness’ sake, voters across the country have shown they support this, research shows this is good for public health, and studies demonstrate real economic benefits. So let’s pass the Sunshine Protection Act and finally make Daylight Saving Time permanent,” Murray said.

Video of Sen. Murray’s Senate-floor speech is above and a written transcript is available below:

“M. President, I come to the floor today because it’s time to make Daylight Saving Time permanent.

“This Sunday millions of Americans will once again roll their clocks back, and in no time, next spring they’ll have to roll their clocks forward—and for what?

“I don’t know a single person who loves to go through the trouble of figuring out whether the microwave or the oven has the hour right or anyone who looks forward to the sun setting earlier and earlier every winter.

“But beyond convenience, this is a matter of health and safety.

“Studies have shown our switch to standard time can increase rates of seasonal depression as well as heart problems and risk of stroke.

“Researchers also believe that if we made Daylight Saving Time permanent there would be fewer car accidents and evening robberies thanks to a more regular schedule and extra hour of sun.

“And there are studies that indicate permanent Daylight Saving Time could offset reduced economic activity that we see during standard time and even lead to greater energy savings.

“The people of my home state of Washington know this, that’s why we’ve passed legislation to switch to permanent Daylight Saving Time.

“And it’s not just Washington—states across the country from Florida, and California to Maine and many more have now passed legislation or resolutions to make Daylight Saving Time year-round.

“But they’re powerless to enact the overwhelming will of the people until they get federal approval.

“To put it simply M. President, Americans want more sunshine and less depression.

“That’s why I am proud to be a cosponsor of the bipartisan Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 which would extend Daylight Saving Time permanently so Americans can enjoy having sunlight during their most productive hours of the day and never have to worry about changing their clocks again.

“Congress needs to be a part of the solution. Here’s a bipartisan issue that we can and should all get behind.

“Now I am working very hard to support the passage of this bill however possible.

“But this is something my constituents are truly fed up with, so I am also pressing the Department of Transportation to explore every avenue available to them—to at least let states like mine, whose voters overwhelmingly want permanent Daylight Saving Time, have it.

“M. President, in this country when people have demanded changes to daylight saving rules or it benefits the country, like saving daylight during World War I or the oil embargo in the 1970s, we have always simply changed the rules. No one wants dark afternoons during the winter or to lose an hour of sleep every spring.

“For goodness’ sake, voters across the country have shown they support this research shows this is good for public health, and studies demonstrate real economic and energy saving benefits.

“So let’s pass the Sunshine Protection Act and finally make Daylight Saving Time permanent.”

The Sunshine Protection Act says states with areas exempt from daylight saving time may choose the standard time for those areas. Arizona and Hawaii do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

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