Honeyford on daylight saving time: Why is this still a thing?

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, daylight saving time for 2020 will come to an end, clocks will turn back an hour, and State Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, will once again lament that this annual ritual is even still a thing Washingtonians must do.

The Republican lawmaker has been working for several years, with numerous states, to develop language to move to permanent daylight saving time. That effort was thwarted during the 2019 session, when the Democrat majority co-opted the issue and passed a measure of its own, which Honeyford said at the time would not resolve the issue. House Bill 1196, a watered-down version of Honeyford’s proposal, made some definitional changes to daylight saving time in Washington, but ultimately punted the issue to Congress.

“The bill that ultimately passed will do nothing until Congress passes legislation to end daylight saving time,” said Honeyford. “My original proposal would have left us on standard time and ended the switching back and forth, which has a negative impact on the health and safety of Washingtonians.

“I’ve worked for several years to get the policy right and build support in other states and even British Columbia to present a unified front in the change to permanent daylight saving time. My counterparts in Oregon, California and British Columbia agree that it is important for the economic, physical and mental well-being of our constituents that the antiquated and destructive practices of springing forward and falling back be ended once and for all.”

Honeyford pointed out that the proposal that was approved won’t let voters have a say, and relies on Washington, D.C., being able to secure a bipartisan, common-sense solution to such problems, without public pressure.

“In other words, good luck,” he said with a smile.

Honeyford’s work on the issue has grabbed national attention and the public’s interest to avoid the twice-yearly time switch. His proposal, Senate Bill 5139, included a referendum clause similar to what other states have done, to give the public a say on the issue. Honeyford’s work was featured by HBO’s Vice News, and the 15th District state senator has fielded calls from legislators around the nation looking to adapt his approach. He has also worked with the office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to help build support for the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time year-round across the country.

“This isn’t just an issue of convenience,” said Honeyford. “Experts who have looked at the issue have testified before legislative committees that there is a great deal of benefits to public health and safety, as well as reductions in crime by making the switch permanent.”

He cited research by University of Washington law professor Steve Calandrillo, who presented key points to legislative committees about the benefit of Honeyford’s proposal.

“When all of the costs and benefits are balanced, it is clear that we should set our clocks forward forever, and never have to switch them again,” Calandrillo said.