It's time to fall back again this weekend. You'll get to change your clocks from daylight time to standard time for maybe the last time. More likely though, it won't be the last time as West Coast states and provinces strive to sync their adoption of permanent daylight saving time.
Earlier this year, the Washington and Oregon legislatures voted by wide margins to ditch the twice-yearly time switch. Oregon's move is contingent on California getting on board too, which won't happen until next year at the earliest.
Now, British Columbia might spring to the front of the line. On Thursday morning, B.C. Attorney General David Eby stood in the provincial parliament to introduce year-round daylight saving time enabling legislation on behalf of the government.
"Because we are monitoring similar initiatives with our neighbors in Yukon, Washington, Oregon and California, the change in the bill would not take effect immediately, but would be brought into force later to create the opportunity for a coordinated approach with these other jurisdictions," Eby declared.
The biggest snag in all this is the U.S. Congress, which can't seem to find the time to deal with requests from states for permission to go to year-round daylight saving time. Congress needs to get involved because while states can adopt year-round standard time, the federal Uniform Time Act does not currently allow for year-round daylight saving time.
Members of Congress have introduced a variety of bills to end the time-change ritual, but none has received even a courtesy hearing. One measure introduced by Florida's delegation would make daylight saving time permanent nationwide in one fell swoop in every state that observes it. Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Ron Wyden of Oregon have signed on to that bill as co-sponsors.
On Monday, Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., added his name as a co-sponsor of a House bill that would simply give states the option to observe daylight saving time year-round. It's anybody's guess when or if Congress will get with the times.
Sticking with daylight saving time year-round would give people an extra hour of daylight on winter evenings. The sun would rise later during winter mornings than under the current observance of standard time between November and mid-March.
California was in the vanguard of the time change issue at the beginning of this year after 60% of Californians backed a ballot proposition last November to go on daylight saving time forever. However, the implementing legislation timed out in the California Senate this fall. Assembly member Kansen Chu, the prime sponsor, said the bill is not dead, just in hiatus until next January while lawmakers consult their constituents about permanent daylight saving time versus permanent standard time.
In the halls of the British Columbia Parliament, B.C. Premier John Horgan sounded unworried about the hiccups in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
"I'm confident they will catch up to us," he told a gaggle of reporters Thursday. "I believe this an issue the public has already got behind."
Horgan expressed the hope that next spring's switch back to Pacific daylight time would be the last clock change. He said the legislative assembly in B.C. received clear direction from the record-breaking public response to a government survey this summer on whether to adopt daylight saving time all year-round. Ninety-three percent of respondents said they wanted to quit the biannual practice of springing forward and falling back.
The Idaho Legislature has also taken an interest in this issue because northern Idaho is in the Pacific time zone. Lawmakers acknowledged that their constituents in cross-border metropolitan areas such as Spokane-Coeur d'Alene, Pullman-Moscow and Clarkston-Lewiston have an interest in staying in sync. During the 2018 Idaho legislative session, members passed a non-binding resolution putting the body on record as favoring keeping the clocks in North Idaho the same as neighboring Washington. The resolution said the state of Idaho should be prepared to act when the time comes.
Two states — Arizona and Hawaii — and the territory of Puerto Rico long ago dispensed with the time change ritual by sticking to standard time year-round.