Does Washington no longer like the idea of ​​permanent daylight saving time?

Christine Clarridge/The Seattle Times

The idea of ​​permanent daylight saving time really seemed to have taken hold of Washington state three years ago.

Perhaps the idea of ​​daylight saving time – observed from March to November – has become linked in our brains to summer itself. Maybe it was like longer days and late sunsets, sports, boat rides, bike rides, any outdoor fun, were only possible if that damn clock stopped ticking. ‘go and come.

Something changed?

Last week, the US Senate voted to adopt permanent daylight saving time. He had been on the edges of lawmakers’ plates for three years since Washington, along with dozens of other states, moved to adopt permanent daylight saving time in a flurry of enthusiasm.

The Senate action sparked a flurry of responses from sleep and depression experts around the world saying lawmakers got it wrong — biologically and medically. They say there is no doubt that standard time is better for people.

On Monday, the Seattle Times asked readers what they thought: Is it time to make daylight saving time permanent? Or do you think we should adopt standard time instead, as many sleep experts advise? Or maybe you think we should stick with what we’re doing and keep changing our clocks twice a year.

Out of 1,000 quick responses, 72.4% said they always use winter time, 17% said they always use daylight saving time, and 10.6% said we shouldn’t change anything.

It’s a major shift from three years ago, when state lawmakers said there was overwhelming support from Washingtonians to drop the change as they passed a bill to put the year-round summer time status.

Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, and Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, among the bill’s sponsors, both said they’ve never seen voters so passionate and excited about legislation.

Honeyford, who has long said he’s on board with standard time, and in fact tried to get the 2019 bill amended to let voters choose whether they want to continue on standard time or win. of the time, said he did not know what had changed since then.

“It seems strange,” he said this week. “Granted, the majority didn’t want standard time at the time and I don’t know what tipped people off.”

Karla Oman of Mason County is among those who changed their minds.

“I personally prefer to stick with daylight saving time, but sleep experts are experts for a reason,” Oman said in its response to the Times poll. “I bow to their expertise in standard time selection.”

In a follow-up chat, she explained that she still preferred the idea of ​​permanent daylight saving time and wasn’t too excited about the idea of ​​summer sunrises at 3 a.m. morning.

“I just want them to pick one, stay there, and take care of it,” she said. “My biological clock is tired of jumping around.”

When the bill to put Washington state on permanent daylight saving time was passed by both the State House and the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and signed into law, more than 30 states had passed or were considering similar legislation. Additionally, BC Premier John Horgan said he would allow permanent daylight saving time if Washington, Oregon and California did so.

“It’s part of a movement to get rid of this absurd clock-changing thing that no longer makes sense,” Riccelli said.

But before a state can stay on daylight saving time year-round, it must be recognized by the federal government. States can, however, decide for themselves to stay on standard time, observed from November to March.

Depression and sleep science experts say it would be healthier to stick with the time change or stay on standard time all the time. Both of these options would be more in line with our natural circadian rhythms, which are in sync with morning light.

Horacio de la Iglesia, a University of Washington biology professor whose work on sleep cycles helped Seattle Public Schools decide to start school later for middle and high school students, said the Permanent Daylight Saving Time would be a nightmare for Seattle and Western Washington. .

“We haven’t experienced anything like that here,” he said of the potentially late winter sunrises. “It will only take one winter for the people of Seattle to realize what they let happen.”

He urges people to call their U.S. Representatives and Senators now “because it’s much harder to strike down a law than to oppose a bill.”

Sarah Sullivan said she realized she was in the minority when she took the Times poll to change nothing.

“Where we live, the current system uses our daylight in the most appropriate way,” she wrote. “For me, it’s worth the 2 days a year of slight inconvenience (and I even say that as a mother of young children) to change the clocks.”

But there are still many who are attached to daylight saving time.

Miles Erickson of Whidbey Island doesn’t understand the arguments for standard time all year round. He leaves for his trip to Seattle around 6 am and it’s dark in the winter, no matter what time we are.

“My morning commutes are always in the dark, standard time or not,” he said.

He much prefers to save time all year round so he can see the sun for about an hour when he leaves work.

“If we set it up so that the only time we get any sun is when we’re staring longingly at it from the office window, that’s not too much fun. … If I can come down at 4 p.m. or 3 p.m. I would like to enjoy a few hours of daylight,” he said in a phone interview. “I personally really appreciate having daylight in the afternoon. and I would like to have a little more.”

Anthony Stewart also likes the late evening sun and really dislikes the 4:30 p.m. darkness in the winter.

“I prefer to have the extra darkness in the morning when I’m usually working anyway… the weather is usually bad so often even when the sun has come up there isn’t much daylight there from anyway,” he wrote in response to the poll.

Michael Edmond Bade, who also chose to “always use daylight saving time”, said he liked longer evenings.

“There is a chance to do something after work. Otherwise, we are inside all winter,” he wrote.

Riccelli, however, hasn’t given up on daylight saving time – although he says he’s ready to compromise if that were to happen.

He said some of the arguments about the negative health effects of year-round daylight saving time seem to ignore the epidemic of diabetes and childhood obesity.

“It’s not just about circadian rhythms, it’s about happy, healthy lifestyles,” Riccelli said. “There’s a huge impact in being able to go out and play sports after school and work.”

Kyle Drevniak told The Times he had two boys aged 6 and 8 who needed time outside when they got home from school at 4 p.m. It’s limited compared to standard winter weather, he said.

“We are a family from Washington, so we have never been afraid of the rain. When they spend more time outside, their mood is better, they sleep better and they are more focused the next day at school,” Drevnyak said.

And for him, he would just prefer to have some daylight when he gets out of work.

Riccelli said he was committed to the idea of ​​”letting go of change” and would be willing to talk about standard time if that’s what people really want. On the other hand, he says, he’s not really sure if people really want standard time or if they’re confused.

“Last time they were loud, loud, loud in favor of saving time, so I just don’t know what they really want, and maybe neither do they.”

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