Oregon's Bold Proposal Skipping Congressional Approval to Ditch Daylight Saving Time

Oregon’s Bold Proposal: Skipping Congressional Approval to Ditch Daylight Saving Time

An Oregon state senator, Kim Thatcher, has put forth Senate Bill 1548 as an alternative to the stalled daylight saving bill in Congress.

The proposed legislation aims to adopt Pacific Standard Time throughout the entire year, eliminating the need to switch between standard time and daylight saving time in the spring and fall.

This initiative aligns with a broader multi-state movement seeking to make Pacific Standard Time permanent, with Washington, Idaho, and California introducing similar proposals this year.

Thatcher highlighted that over the past five years, momentum has grown in favor of transitioning to standard time, as the original daylight saving time bill from Oregon remains stuck in Congress.

She declared on Tuesday that “people are done with the switch.”

Thatcher, with bipartisan backing from co-sponsors such as Senators Elizabeth Steiner (D-Portland), Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego), Deb Patterson (D-Salem), and David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford), along with Representative Jami Cate (R-Lebanon), clarified that the switch to Pacific Standard Time does not require Congress approval.

The region in eastern Oregon currently in the Mountain Time Zone would continue transitioning between daylight saving and standard time.

The Veterans, Emergency Management, Federal and World Affairs committee organized an informational meeting for the bill on Tuesday.

Testifying in support of the legislation were Portland State University students and professors affiliated with the nonprofit organization Northwest Noggin.

Graduate student Marc Chenard shared that his neuroscience research, incorporated into his honors thesis, played a role in influencing Vancouver Public Schools to implement a later start time.

“Permanent standard time in Oregon, and the sleep benefits that will accompany it, will have positive impacts on the health, well-being and success of Oregonian students,” Chenard stated.

Bill Griesar, an integrative neuroscience teaching assistant professor at PSU, stated that light exposure has a significant effect on people’s capacity for sound sleep.

“Permanent standard time is best aligned with the natural circadian rhythms of our own brains and bodies, allowing us to wake up more days of the year in sunlight,” Griesar stated.

Molecular researcher Kindra Crick also asked politicians to “learn from our own history.”

In reaction to the 1973 oil crisis, President Richard Nixon instituted nationwide permanent daylight saving time in 1974. It lasted for ten months before ending.

“It was wildly unpopular … with school officials in Florida blaming the deaths of six children in the first month on their having to go to school in darkness,” Crick stated.