Washington residents wait in darkness for Congress to end daylight savings

By Isabel Ashley

The time of year to “fall back” an hour has arrived, as daylight-savings comes to an end. Although the Washington Senate passed a bill in 2019 to remain permanently in daylight-savings time – meaning Washington residents would no longer change the clocks twice a year – approval from Congress is needed for such a shift.

Daylight savings time was first introduced in the US in 1918 with the Standard Time Act, which was created to cut energy costs in World War I. This act also led to the creation of the five time zones across the US today, and the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was created to standardized daylight savings in these time zones.

States can choose to stay in standard time year-round, and states like Arizona and Hawaii have opted to do so. However, under federal law, states are not allowed to stay on daylight time ie; the schedule that gives longer daylight hours.

In March 2022, the US Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, which would have accomplished the Washington Legislature’s original goal of permanent daylight savings time, starting on Nov. 5, 2023, had it been approved by the House and the President. Clearly, this has not happened; the bill has stalled in the House since March 2022. Most sources did not elaborate on the reason for the delay, and some speculate that lobbyists have become involved with the issue.

Reasons that have been cited to support the end of daylight savings include reduction of traffic collisions, crime and risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as an increase in productivity, recreation and commerce. For now, Washington residents and the rest of the country will have to wait until daylight saving time starts again on March 10, 2024.