In 1960, Washington became the 15th state to adopt DST when 51.7% of voters approved Ballot Initiative 210. In the official voter pamphlet, the initiative promised “154 more hours of daylight each year.”
The voter pamphlet also provided arguments against the initiative, such as “Children do not get their proper rest under Daylight Saving Time.”
With its successful passage, Initiative 210 was codified in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) at 1.20.051.
Recent bills in the Washington State House of Representatives and Washington State Senate have tried to eliminate the shift to and from DST from Washington law. Sponsors of these bills claim the annual time shift causes major disruptions to sleep cycles, increasing the risk of workplace accidents, car crashes, and medical problems.
Washington State Representative Elizabeth Scott introduced a bill in the House that would establish year-round Pacific Standard Time in Washington State, while Washington State Representative Joe Schmick introduced a bill that would ask the United States Congress for permission to establish year-round DST in Washington State (the Uniform Time Act currently prohibits this). Both bills face opposition in committee. Meanwhile, Washington State Senator John McCoy introduced a bill in the Senate that would establish year-round Pacific Standard Time in Washington State. This bill died in committee in February.
In 2008, University of Washington Law School Professor Steve Calandrillo and J.D. Dustin Buehler wrote Time Well Spent: An Economic Analysis of Daylight Saving Time Legislation, published in the Wake Forest Law Review, weighing the costs and benefits of DST (43 Wake Forest L. Rev. 45). They concluded that year-round DST “would save hundreds of lives annually.”
The research for this blog post was conducted using print resources available in the Gallagher Law Library. Come see us soon for your own legal research!