Daylight saving time may be a month away but the topic is taking the center stage in Olympia.
The push is on to keep Washington on daylight saving time year round.
Legislators backing Senate Bill 5139 said they have momentum -- with other states, including California, voting for this biannual time change.
On Wednesday, a state Senate committee in Olympia heard testimony supporting SB 5139 sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford.
He wants to see daylight saving time observed in Washington year round, saying switching clocks back and forth can be harmful to your health.
He cites research that it increases risks for heart attacks, traffic accidents and even people committing criminal activities.
“The idea that it’s for farmers it’s very inaccurate,” said Honeyford. “Farmers work in daylight and it doesn’t matter what the clock said but what the sun tells them.”
University of Washington law professor Steve Calandrillo testified in support of the bill.
“The real reason that we want permanent daylight saving time is to save lives,” said Calandrillo.
“Darkness kills. There is no question that darkness is deadly but darkness is far deadlier in early-evening hours than early-morning hours.”
Critics have said doing away with the time change would put more people, including kids walking to school, in the dark especially in the winter when the sun could rise as late as almost 9 a.m.
Others said they don't like to lose that extra hour of sleep come spring but gaining the extra sunshine, in a state like Washington, makes it all worth it.
“It makes the summer longer,” said Seattle resident Mary-Lou La Pierre, “It’s sunny later in the evening and with our gray winter, it just offsets that.”
If Washington passes SB 5139, it still needs Congress' approval.
If Congress fails to authorize it, legislators propose the state seeks approval from the Department of Transportation to change Washington to year-round Mountain Standard Time.
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