Legislature takes final steps toward permanent daylight saving time

State Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, has been working for several years, with numerous states, to develop language to move to permanent daylight saving time. On Tuesday the Senate approved House Bill 1196, a watered-down version of Honeyford’s proposal that would make definitional changes to daylight saving time in Washington.

“I’m a bit disappointed with the version that is likely to get out of the Legislature,” said Honeyford. “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. The proposal that we approved is watered down and won’t let voters have a say.”

Honeyford’s work on the issue has grabbed national attention and the public’s interest to avoid the twice-yearly time switch. Honeyford’s proposal, Senate Bill 5139, would give Washington the ability to make the time change effective on the second Sunday of March the year after congressional approval. Other provisions in his bill included a referendum clause similar to what other states have done. 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.

“Hopefully, the federal government will take this effort seriously, but I feel that a vote of the people would have sent a stronger message,” said Honeyford. “There a great deal of benefits to public health and safety, and reductions in crime by making the switch permanent.”

During the committee hearing process on daylight saving time, Honeyford enlisted experts who have looked at the issue to make the case. University of Washington law professor Steve Calandrillo presented key points to legislative committees about the benefit of Honeyford’s proposal.

“When all of the costs and benefits are balanced, the advantages of extended daylight saving time are clear. It is past time that we set our clocks forward forever, and never have to switch them again,” Calandrillo said.