SEATTLE — Washingtonians will still need to turn their clocks back an hour at 2 a.m. on Nov. 7, despite state lawmakers approving permanent daylight saving time in 2019.
That’s because Washington can't do away with standard time unless Congress gives approval. Federal law allows states to opt-out of daylight saving time, but it doesn’t allow states to do the opposite.
Hawaii and Arizona (except the Navajo Nation) both operate on standard time year-round. U.S. territories American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not observe daylight saving time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Washington is among 19 states that have enacted legislation or passed resolutions in the last four years to stay sprung forward on daylight saving time all year long.
There are three avenues that could allow Washington to observe permanent daylight saving time: Congress could pass a bill allowing states like Washington to make the change, Congress could pass a law making the change to every state at once or U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg could authorize the change on his own.
Year-round daylight saving time supporters argue that switching clocks negatively impacts our health, and extra hours of daylight in the evenings would reduce deadly crashes and crime.
If Washington were to move to daylight saving time year-round, we would stay on the same time we currently observe from March through November. We would keep later sunsets in the summer, but the change would be more noticeable in the winter months. On the Winter Solstice, the sun wouldn’t rise until 8:55 a.m., and it would set at 5:20 p.m. if we were on daylight saving time year-round.
While Congress lengthened daylight saving time to start on the second Sunday of March and end on the first Sunday of November in 2005, it has stopped short of allowing states to stay on daylight saving time year-round.
Bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate that would make daylight saving time permanent, with exceptions for states and territories that already don’t observe daylight saving time. Neither bill has advanced to a vote.
So, without approval from Congress, plan to fall back and spring forward as usual.