If the question could be resolved via citizens’ initiatives, there’s little doubt about the outcome: Pacific Northwest states would follow California in supporting a move toward year-round daylight saving time.
In November 2018, 60 percent of California voters said yes to doing away with switching the time in spring and fall. The legislatures in Washington and Oregon each may consider bills in their current sessions that would seek the same result. A story we published about the Washington proposal generated 154 Facebook likes and 20 loves. Comments were more mixed, with about seven clearly opposed to year-round daylight saving and a few more preferring year-round standard time. Fully half the commentors clearly supported the legislative proposal. A typical comment: “Yes please. I hate changing time backwards and forwards.”
A 1969 hit by Chicago asked, “Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?” The answer, clearly, is yes we do.
Nearly everyone agrees the time change is disagreeable. It can leave a person feeling discombobulated for several days in a sort of low-grade version of jet lag. There even is evidence suggesting we experience health problems and have more accidents in the days immediately following the switchover.
All this is a fairly modern and artificial situation — not that we can get entirely out of it now. There weren’t rigid times until railways required agreed-upon schedules to avoid having two trains racing toward one another on the same track. Most of us now are required to adhere to a common time in order to conduct business, attend classes and make it to dentist appointments. In other ways, we are becoming somewhat more unmoored from time. Thanks to digital video recorders, fewer of us are bound to TV network programming schedules. Those who work at home or on the Internet are always on the job, but with flexibility about starting and quitting times.
Here in America’s northern latitudes, daylight saving time brings with it the luxury of barbecues and walks on the beach long into the evening. It may be this emotional component that leans more people toward adopting that time, when in fact year-round standard time might make nearly as much sense.
It turns out that switching to year-round daylight saving time isn’t a matter of a simple legislative or initiative process. Reported California’s vote, the online news source Vox (tinyurl.com/Vox-time-story) cited a story saying that while federal law allows states to opt for 12-month standard time, Congress would have to OK a switch to permanent daylight time.
Nevertheless, it is worth encouraging our legislators to advance this change — to “spring forward” forever.