Alaska Life Hack: Turning the clock back an hour

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FALL BACK, SLEEP IN, AND FIND THE WHITE LIGHTS

Into the four months of “double darkness” we go. On Sunday, Nov. 3, Alaska moves from Daylight Savings Time back to Standard Time.

As Alaska ends eight months of extra evening hours, the clock-changing exercise gives Alaskans the illusion of having more daylight in the morning, but the days feel suddenly shorter after work.

Welcome to winter. Changing the clocks, added to the fact that Alaskans are experiencing sunlight fade at warp speed, sends everyone looking for their strings of white lights to cheer up the darkness.

After all, between Nov. 1 and Nov. 15, the majority of Alaskans will lose more than 70 minutes of daylight — that’s about 5-1/2 minutes per day during these first two weeks of November. Adding the sudden loss of an hour in the evening when the clock changes to Standard Time gives Alaskans a “wow, that was fast,” experience as winter descends.

The exact time when clocks change Saturday night is 2 am, but most people fuss with their wall and stove clocks before going to bed or when they rise in the morning.

Your digital devices will generally adjust themselves to the proper time, but for those with older cars that don’t have smart-time devices, drivers have a semi-annual struggle to reset clocks, and an increasing number of people simply abandon the effort. After all, there’s always a smart phone somewhere nearby, so who cares if the car is wrong for four months out of the year?

When it comes to travel, that’s where things can get confusing. If you’re flying through Arizona or Hawaii, just remember they don’t change their clocks, like other states. And Unalaska observes Hawaii-Aleutian Daylight Time, although no commercial flights are heading that way until next week.

Politically, the debate over the biannual clock confusion is getting picked up in legislative halls with increasing frequency. At least 26 states have considered stopping the flip-flop, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Lawmakers cite safety of children standing at bus stops as a main reason for staying going on Standard Time. But the origins of the time warp go back to World War 1 and an effort to conserve coal in home furnaces.

[Read: The origins of Daylight Savings Time at Farmers Almanac]

THE MOOD IS TO STOP THE CLOCK

This year 46 bills were introduced in 26 states proposing to move to either Standard Time or Daylight Savings Time on a permanent basis. Most of those bills are still pending, but the Washington State Legislature passed a law this year to stay on Daylight Savings Time.

The problem is, federal law doesn’t allow that without congressional approval, and Congress is paralyzed with impeachment proceedings. So Washington state will be turning its clocks back like the rest of us.

Other states that passed legislation to make Daylight Savings Time permanent are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, and Tennessee and Washington.

Alaska has had a parade of bills to end the clock flip flop: In the 21st Legislature (1999-2000), 22nd (2001-2002), 24th (2005-2006). During the 2015-2016 session, Sen. Anna MacKinnon’s bill to make Alaska Standard Time permanent passed the Senate, only to die in the House.

In Congress, Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida this year introduced a bill to make Daylight Savings Time permanent. Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan introduced the companion legislation in the House.

The Sunshine Protection Act, legislation is the second time Rubio has introduced the measure since Florida passed legislation enacting year-round Daylight Savings Time if Congress ever acts.

A one-page summary of the bill is at this link.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I am old enough to remember when Alaska used to have four time zones. They were changed in September of 1983 to just two time zones and Yukon time became the standard time for most Alaskans,

  2. I’m so sick of this! It makes no difference for the mornings and we lose an hour of daylight after work at an already depressing and gloomy time of year. We should keep DST all year round.

  3. I’m all for stopping the flip-flop, but we should stay on DST. Otherwise, we’ll be another hour behind those who go to full time DST. With Washington state going to full time DST at some point in the near future, staying on standard time would put us two hours behind Seattle. We should keep our clocks as closely aligned with the Lower 48 as possible, and that means going to permanent DST.

  4. How about we just stay on standard time, all across the country?

    Only the US Senate could come up with something as asinine as “The Sunshine Protection Act”. And, staying on daylight savings time is not too far behind that.

    Good grief.

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