Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211
04/13/2005 01:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS
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SB 120-ELIMINATE DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced SB 120 to be up for consideration. 2:57:49 PM SENATOR DONALD OLSON, Sponsor, paraphrased the sponsor statement: I have introduced this bill because of conversations with friends and constituents questioning the necessity for the state of Alaska to change our clocks twice a year for the "leap forward" and the "rolling back" that marks Daylight Saving Time. The main complaint that I have heard associated with Daylight Saving Time is the disruption of sleeping habits. There have been numerous letters to the editor in the Anchorage Daily news over the years complaining about children and adults having difficulty adjusting to waking up an hour earlier then they have for 6 months. According to the National Sleep Foundation there is a 7% increase in accidents the day after Daylight Saving Time goes into effect. The other complaint most often voiced is the annoyance people feel towards the changing of clocks in the households and offices. People simply do not enjoy the task and because of that often are against Daylight Saving Time. I thank the committee for it's consideration and respectfully I urge your support on Senate Bill 120. 3:00:53 PM SENATOR BERT STEDMAN commented the history in the packet was interesting. He questioned how many time zones Southeast Alaska would differ from Seattle if this were to pass. SENATOR OLSON replied under this proposal, Southeast Alaska would be one hour different for six months of the year and two hours different the other six months. People doing business in the Russian Far East and Asia would be an hour closer, which might be advantageous. SENATOR WAGONER said he was in favor of the change. RICH POOR, Douglas resident, stated opposition to the bill and asked the committee to consider the value of the extra hour of daylight at the end of the day. Also, Alaska does a great deal of business with the West Coast and if Alaska were to be two hours behind that region for seven months a year, it wouldn't be easier to do business. He suggested it would be beneficial keeping the state on Alaska Daylight Time or Pacific Standard Time year round for summer activities and communication with Seattle. In the winter the state would be on Pacific Time and that would benefit business. He presented the committee with his letter and asked members to give the issue serious consideration. Most people aren't aware of the bill, but there's bound to be a reaction if this passes. 3:08:19 PM CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked when it would get dark in Southeast in the summer if there were no Daylight Savings Time. MR. POOR said now gets dark at about 10:00 pm in Juneau and if this passes it would get dark at about 9:00 pm. That would be tough for outdoor activities when August rolls around. SENATOR WAGONER commented that Mr. Poor's suggestion was a novel approach and he liked it. 3:11:19 PM FRANK NORRIS, Anchorage resident, told members he sent the committee a version of an article he wrote for the Alaska History Journal called "Keeping Time in Alaska; National Directives, Local Responses." A copy is in the bill file. He offered the generalization that because Alaska spans 60 degrees on longitude and 20 degrees of latitude, there is so much ground to be covered that no one will ever be happy with a time zone arrangement regardless of the structure. You would lose political viability, or commercial advantages with West Coast trading partners, or other difficulties would crop up. 3:13:35 PM CHAIR GARY STEVENS noted Mr. Norris is a well-known historian from Kodiak. He heard him say there is no best solution. MR. NORRIS said that's correct, the rationale is different depending on where you are in the state. 3:14:49 PM ROBERT WEBER, Mat-Su resident, stated support for SB 120. 3:19:29 PM LELAND FISHBACK, Mat-Su resident, testified in support of SB 120. PAULA RAK, Wrangell resident, spoke in opposition to SB 120. 3:26:13 PM LYNN WILLIS, Eagle River resident, testified in strong support of SB 120 and said he testified on similar legislation in the House. CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for comments. SENATOR WAGONER said he liked the suggestion Mr. Poor presented and he would like to hear from the sponsor. 3:29:25 PM SENATOR OLSON explained that time zones are federally mandated by the Department of Transportation. States may move forward, but it would take a federal mandate for Alaska to move to Pacific Standard Time. 3:31:02 PM CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for a motion. SENATOR WAGONER motioned to report SB 120 and attached fiscal notes from committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, it was so ordered.