Washington Senate approves bill for year-round daylight saving time ballot measure

Voters in Washington could be asked to decide a ballot measure addressing year-round daylight saving time (DST). On March 12, the state Senate voted 46-3 to pass the bill for the ballot measure.

The ballot measure would provide for year-round DST if federal law is changed to allow states to adopt year-round DST. As of 2019, the federal Uniform Time Act allowed states to adopt one of two options: (a) adopt DST between the second Sunday of March or the first Sunday of November or (b) remain on standard time all year. The law did not allow for year-round DST. On March 12, President Donald Trump (R) tweeted, “Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!”

The state House of Representatives needs to pass the bill for the measure to appear on the ballot in November. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) would also need to sign the bill. The state House passed its own year-round DST bill on March 9, but that bill did not include a provision for a ballot measure.

If the measure appears on the ballot, Washington would be the second state to vote on a ballot measure addressing permanent DST. In 2018, Californians approved Proposition 7, which authorized the state legislature to adopt permanent DST if federal law changes.

There were 21 ballot measures related to time standards on the ballot between 1924 and 1972, including three in Washington. After 1972, the first measure addressing time was California Proposition 7 in 2018.