Western Washington enters ‘Big Dark’ as wait to end yearly time-change drags on

Seattle rain

Washingtonians have been waiting for an end to their twice-yearly time changes for years now, and in the near term, the wait will drag on for yet another “fall back” on Sunday.

In 2019, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a state bill to keep Washington in Daylight Saving Time year-round. But because a required federal waiver approving that change has yet to materialize, the state has been stuck in a holding pattern ever since.

Those in favor of an end to changing our clocks say that such a move could help reduce crime, yield numerous health benefits, and cut down on car crashes involving tired drivers.

Efforts in Congress have also stalled out, with the Sunshine Protection Act -- sponsored in part by Washington Sen. Patty Murray -- having gone unpassed. Introduced on a yearly basis, the bill would similarly keep the whole country in DST (excepting states already in year-round Standard Time).

In a statement to KIRO 7, one of the sponsors of Washington state’s 2019 bill expressed frustration with the lack of movement.

“Despite years of calls for change to end the back and forth of Daylight Savings Time, the people of Washington are frustrated at Congressional inaction,” said state Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane).

He expressed that state lawmakers may instead look at a move to permanent Standard Time, which does not require Congressional approval.

“It’s time to ditch the switch and end the disruption to our Washington families,” he said. “If that means going with permanent Standard Time, I’m open to discussing that option if that is what it takes.”

In the meantime, Western Washington will again fall headfirst into the part of the year popularly known as the “Big Dark,” when rainy weather rolls in and our sunsets drift upsettingly close to 4 p.m. That culminates in our region’s earliest sunsets of the year over multiple days in early-to-mid December (right around 4:17 p.m.).

That’s all to say: clocks will roll back an hour right on schedule -- both for Washington and the rest of the country -- at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5.