Washington keeps close eye on permanent daylight saving time vote in California

SEATTLE - In California, voters appear to have overwhelmingly approved Proposition 7, which aims to keep daylight saving time year round. And while it’s a victory in the polls, there are still many hurdles before it happens. It has to pass by the legislature and Congress would also have to give a final approval.

Still though, many think the idea could have a ripple effect throughout the west coast, particularly Oregon and Washington.

And while it's a statewide proposition there, many people in our state are keeping a close eye on what happens.

Some even think if it passes, it could have a ripple effect here.

"I think it’d be great to have year round daylight saving time,” said Steve Calandrillo, a law professor at the University of Washington.

Calandrillo has written several papers and op-ed’s on why daylight saving time would benefit many people in Washington, and throughout the country. It would make the streets safer, he argued.

"Criminals like to work in darkness. They tend to work later in the day, not earlier in the day. For whatever reasons, they are late risers,” he said.

Another reason is lower energy costs.

"Heating costs are lower when you have sunlight out. People typically use more heating resources at 5 p.m. than they do at 7 a.m.,” he said.

But not everyone agrees that keeping daylight saving time would be beneficial.

"If we kept with daylight saving time, the sunrise would be at about 9 a.m. on December 21st,” said Dr. David Avery, a psychiatrist and professor emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Washington.

According to Dr. Avery, if daylight saving were to be permanent, people’s sleep patterns and their health would be impacted negatively.

“There would be great dyssynchrony between our sleep and our biological rhythms,” said Dr. Avery.

Washington State Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside is working to make daylight saving time permanent in our state. He, along with Oregon State Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, are working on similar proposals.

He hopes to have it in place by spring of 2020, he said.

But even if it passes in California, Congress would have to make the final approval.

"If California, or any other state, wants to go beyond that and have year-round daylight saving time, they’d be in violation of the Uniform Time Act, so they'd have to get Congress’ permission," said Calandrillo.

If states want to opt-in to just standard time, then Congress does not have to be involved, which is what Arizona and Hawaii do, said Calandrillo.

"We will continue to monitor what happens in California. And if it moves forward we will have conversations with California and Oregon about what it means for the entire West Coast,” said Tara Lee, spokesperson for Governor Jay Inslee.