Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Eliminating Alaska Daylight Savings Time Deja Vu

Or we could also title this, "The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same."

Here's the beginning of a front page article in the Alaska Dispatch News today:

"Daylight saving time bill springs forward in Alaska Legislature

Molly Dischner | Associated Press
JUNEAU — A Senate committee advanced legislation Tuesday that would eliminate daylight saving time in Alaska and allow for consideration of another time zone in the state.
The bill would exempt Alaskans from advancing their clocks each spring. It would also direct the governor to ask the U.S. Department of Transportation to consider moving part or all of Alaska to Pacific time.
Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River, originally proposed the bill to end daylight saving time in Alaska, then introduced the amendment to consider another time zone."
I've highlighted "originally proposed the bill because, this year isn't the first year that she's been pushing this bill.

Below is a repost of what I wrote March 18, 2010 when I was blogging the Alaska legislature.

There are some differences.  Representative Anna Fairclough is now Senator Anna MacKinnon (same person.)

HB 19 to End Daylight Savings Time

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The other two meetings going on right now are dealing with issues of far greater impact on Alaska I presume.  But this is one most Alaskans can understand easily and are impacted by most directly and tangibly.

Here is the table with copies of emails and letters for and against the bill. 

[Update:  I looked through these and they are all [mostly] dated March 18 and some 17.  Actually this stack is misleading.  I didn't realize I have one big stack twice.  The vote was 62 for HB 19, 18 against, and four had other options, like get the US to change, but not just Alaska.]

Sen. Olson and Sen. Menard listen to phone testimony on the ending daylight savings time in Alaska. 

Rep. Anna Fairclough, the bill sponsor, responded to the comments received through the mail, email, and by phone today.  She said there were two reasons that have real justification for not changing:

1.  People in Southeast Alaska have a real issue because they are basically in Pacific time, so they get less light in the evening while the sun comes up 3am at solstice.
2.  The difficulty in coordinating with people outside of Alaska.  (I think this was the second one)

Other than these two points, most people prefer getting rid of daylight savings time.  A lot of this is about having to change and the disruption that causes with relatively little daylight impact for most Alaskans (further north and west than Southeast.)

Other issue:  Why don't we just spring forward and stay on daylight savings time the whole year.  There area a couple of issues:
1.  Feds, not states, can change time zones.
2.  Western Alaska would be even further off of sun time (opposite problem of Southeast.)

Meeting was adjourned just about 5pm with the decision postponed.

The bill did not pass that year.  I was curious whether the bill has been defeated every year since so I called Sen. MacKinnon's office and staff member Erin gave me a brief history of previous bills to end daylight savings time in Alaska. 

1999 - 21st Session - HB 4 introduced by Rep. Kohring
2002 - 22nd Session - HB 409 introduced by Rep. Lancaster
2005 - 24th Session - SB 120 and HB 176 introduced Sen. Olson and House State Affairs committee
2009 - 26th Session - HB 19 introduced by Rep. Fairclough

[Note:  Each legislative session is two years starting with the newly elected legislature in January of the odd year following the election in the even year.  So, HB 19 introduced in 2009 was still in play in the second year of the 26th session (2010) when I reported on it.  HB = House Bill, SB = Senate Bill.]

Here is my commentary on daylight savings time in Alaska from a post on the failed legislation in November 2010 on the weekend we were about to fall back. 

My personal feelings are that in Alaska it probably doesn't matter one way or the other except in Southeast, which is the result of having the state in one time zone.  In the winter it's going to be dark and in the summer it's going to be light.  And I don't mind getting an extra hour this weekend in the fall.  But I hate losing an hour of weekend in the spring.

My tweak to daylight savings would be, in the spring, to make the change (skip ahead one hour) at 4pm on Friday afternoon.  Then people at work would get to go home one hour early.  Yes, I know there are all sorts of potential economic impacts, but not much work gets done in the last hour of Friday afternoon anyway and people would feel happy to get a free hour and would spend more on entertainment that weekend to offset the loss.  (Gross generalization based on gut feeling but absolutely no evidence.) 

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