State Sen. Bill Hansell said he doesn’t care if Oregon abolishes “springing forward” and “falling back” for the rest of time. He just wants the voters of Oregon to make the decision.
That’s the reasoning the Athena Republican put behind his vote against Senate Bill 320, a bill that would make daylight saving time in Oregon permanent.
Hansell made clear that he was agnostic toward changing the biannual tradition of switching clocks an hour forward in the spring and an hour back in the fall.
“I don’t care if it’s daylight or standard,” he said.
But when an amendment stripped language from the bill that would have referred the issue to a statewide election, Hansell decided to oppose it.
In an otherwise contentious legislative session, the bill enjoyed broad bipartisan support.
The chief sponsors of the bill were two Republicans and a Democrat, and when Hansell voted against SB 320, he was joined only by state Sens. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Portland, Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, and Alan Olsen, R-Canby.
If the bill becomes law, Oregon wouldn’t “fall back” the first Sunday of each November and would stay in the daylight saving time period year-round. Most of Malheur County, which observes Mountain time instead of Pacific time like the rest of the state, is exempted from the bill.
But the bill faces obstacles beyond the state legislative process.
Oregon’s foray into permanent daylight saving time wouldn’t begin until California and Washington pass laws that do the same.
Both states are well on their way: California voters approved a daylight saving measure last November and the Washington Legislature has already passed a bill through its house of representatives that would put the issue up for a vote in the next general election.
If all three states agree to permanent daylight saving time, the trio would also have to get federal approval from Congress.
That’s not an automatic given that Florida is still waiting for congressional approval for a bill in 2018 that established a permanent daylight saving time.
But the quest to eliminate standard time — the “fall back” period from November to March — has some powerful, if unlikely, allies.
President Donald Trump tweeted on March 11 that permanent daylight saving time was “O.K with me!”
And Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, has also voiced support for the proposal.
Before the concept behind SB 320 goes before the governor’s desk and possibly the president’s, it will need to pass the Oregon House of Representatives.