SALEM, Ore. >> Oregon moved toward making daylight saving time permanent after the House voted 37-20 today to ditch the twice-yearly time change if other West Coast states follow suit and Congress signs off.
The measure would establish year-round daylight saving time across the state — with the exception of Malheur County in eastern Oregon, which is on Mountain Time and will continue changing the clocks.
It now goes to Gov. Kate Brown, who said she will sign. But the bill would only take effect if other West Coast states follow suit and Congress signs off. While states can opt into standard time permanently — which Hawaii and Arizona have done — the reverse is prohibited and requires congressional action.
Oregon lawmakers endorsed the move, saying they’ve heard passionate support from their constituents.
“It’s what the people of Oregon want,” said Rep. Bill Post, the Republican from Keizer who carried the measure on the floor. “It’s what we’ve heard over and over and over again.”
The idea’s been picking up steam in state legislatures across the country and boasts broad bipartisan support. The governor of Washington state already signed a bill approving permanent daylight saving time, and the California Legislature is considering the change after voters signaled their support last year at the ballot box.
More than 30 states are considering legislation related to the practice of changing clocks twice a year, according the National Conference of State Legislatures. Florida became the first state to vote for the switch and is still waiting on Congressional approval.
There’s support on the federal level, too. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced legislation making daylight saving time permanent nationwide and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has expressed his support.
Even President Donald Trump weighed in, tweeting in March that “Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!”
Daylight saving time is observed from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November. Permanent daylight saving would provide an extra hour of light in the winter months, which supporters say could save energy usage and lead to increased economic activity.
A 2008 study found that time spent changing clocks costs the U.S. $1.7 billion in potential revenue. Other studies report that changing the clock affects our sleep cycle, presenting health and productivity risks. Tired workers still adjusting to the time change are more likely to slack off or to face workplace injuries, and a 2014 study found a 6.3% increase in fatal automobile accidents over the six days following the time switch.
Opponents expressed concerns that the sun would rise after 8:30 a.m. in the winter months and children would be forced to go to school in the dark. They also said it could impact agricultural operations that often depend on daylight.