By Ken Stern 

Agreeing on time, for a change

From the editor—

 

January 31, 2024



This editorial is as timely and critical as when a version was published in 2022, during the last short session of our state legislature. It is updated. Your actions are still needed and needed today.

Here is a nonpartisan issue that this community – and indeed, every resident in the state – can rally around in agreement: putting our Washington on standard time year round. That is right: legislation will ditch the semi-annual spring ahead fall-back scenario of artificially changing sunrise and sunset by moving clocks ahead an hour in March and returning them to standard time in November.

This year Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, sponsored Senate Bill 5795 with 12 other co-sponsors in the Washington State Legislature for year-round time. The bill has bipartisan support but none of our District 10 representatives have signed on. They need to and the greater La Conner needs to embrace this opportunity to join together in nonpartisan fashion in support.

Think of it: La Conner voices unified in their call for “natural time defined by the sun,” as Jay Pea, founder of the nonprofit named Save Standard Time, testified. He told legislators in 2022 that federal legislation is not needed for this state law to take effect. Congress must approve permanent daylight time for states, one more bill they cannot pass.

Study after study has shown that standard time is healthier for all of us, young and old, urban and rural, Republican and Democrat. The bill states:

“The legislature finds that the state of Washington would benefit from the consistency and predictability of observing Pacific standard time throughout the calendar year. Research has shown that changing to and from daylight saving time twice per year has negative impacts on public health, increases traffic accidents and crime, disrupts agriculture scheduling, and hinders 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.

“Standard time is much better than permanent daylight savings time,” University of Washington Professor Horacio de la Iglesia advocated in 2022. He researches sleep and circadian rhythms and noted that later sunrises on winter mornings under permanent daylight-saving time would be “particularly detrimental” for young people attending school.

The Senate’s State Government and Elections committee held a hearing Jan. 16. A companion bill has not been filed in the House of Representatives. Reps. Dave Paul and Clyde Shavers can show bi-partisan leadership and an example for citizens and fellow legislators alike by jointly sponsoring companion legislation.

Senator Liz Lovelett, D-Anacortes, advocated for standard time and was one of two votes against permanent daylight savings time in 2019. Area residents can reach out to her to co-sponsor and advocate for the bill.

Here is a community good that benefits all of us that can be accomplished. It will be great to gain this victory this winter. Heaven knows we need more sunshine in our individual and collective lives.

Time is of the essence.

Contact your District 10 legislators:

Sen. Ron Muzzall: (360) 786-7618; [email protected].

Rep. Dave Paul: (360) 553-4226; [email protected].

Rep. Clyde Shavers: (360) 786-7884; [email protected].

Contact Sen. Liz Lovelett: (360) 786-7678; [email protected].

 

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