Three years after Oregon voted for permanent daylight saving time, federal bill could end clock changes
The sun sets on a smoky summer day in Bend on July 31, 2018. A bill approved by the U.S. Senate would clear the way for later sunsets in Oregon and other states year-round. (Julia Shumway/Oregon Capital Chronicle)
A surprise unanimous vote in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday could mean darker mornings and later sunsets year-round.
The federal legislation, which still needs approval from the U.S. House and President Joe Biden, comes on the heels of at least 18 states, including Oregon, signaling that they want to make daylight saving time permanent instead of changing clocks twice a year.
States can already opt out of daylight saving time and stick with standard time year-long. Hawaii and most of Arizona don’t change their clocks, and Indiana didn’t start observing the time change until 2006.
But in Oregon and a number of other states, lawmakers instead want to make daylight time permanent. That requires an act of Congress.
A 2019 Oregon law would move the state, minus Malheur County, to permanent daylight time once Congress acts, as long as California and Washington pass their own laws making daylight time permanent. Washington passed its own law in 2019, but California has been slow to act.
Oregon’s southern neighbor might vote this November to switch to permanent standard time instead, Jefferson Public Radio reported.
The state law wouldn’t include Malheur County, the only Oregon county that observes Mountain Time. That would result in Portland and Vale having the same time from November to March, while clocks in Malheur County would show a time an hour later than the coast for the other eight months.
The federal proposal from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, is simpler. Beginning in November 2023, states that currently observe daylight saving time would remain on daylight time in perpetuity.
Arizona, Hawaii and the U.S. territories that don’t observe daylight saving time could choose whether to stick with their current time or move to daylight time.
The federal proposal would supersede any state laws. If it passes, all of Oregon, including Malheur County, would be permanently on daylight time.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, co-sponsored the proposal and praised its passage.
“Glad the Senate has passed the Sunshine Protection Act so Oregonians aren’t springing back & forth each year in a silly exercise that hurts everybody’s health & our economy” Wyden tweeted. “Time now for the House to act.”
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