Are you ready for ‘Spring ahead’? Daylight Saving Time heralds longer days to come

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By DAN FAGAN

Ask Alaskans which is worse during the long winter: The cold or the dark? Most would say it’s the seemingly never-ending darkness. 

Daylight Saving Time, which begins Sunday at 2 a.m., won’t bring more daylight. But it will make evening light longer.

Daylight Saving Time runs between this weekend and the first Sunday in November. 

Standard Time runs between November and the second Sunday in March. 

A Monmouth University poll last year found 44 percent of those asked favor Daylight Saving Time while only 13 percent preferred Standard Time. Most Americans prefer more light in the evenings than mornings. 

Sixty-one percent of responders favored ending the twice-annual clock changes. In other words, they said, pick a time and go with it. 

The sun will set at 6:51 p.m. on Saturday in Anchorage. On Sunday, after adjusting clocks, it sets at 7:53 p.m.

The time change, along with a gain of five minutes and 44 seconds of daylight per day at this time of year, means more fun outdoors with more light. 

By the end of March, the sun won’t set in Anchorage until 8:42 p.m., extending evening daylight by two hours over sunset this Saturday. 

On June 21, summer solstice, the sun will set in Anchorage at 11:42 p.m., a far cry from the 6:51 p.m. sunset this Saturday. 

State Rep. Dan Ortiz, an independent from Ketchikan who caucuses with the Democrats, has introduced a bill this legislative session calling for year long Daylight Saving Time in Alaska. No more Standard Time and no more changing clocks. 

“Daylight Saving Time works better for tourism and the people of my district,” Ortiz told Must Read Alaska. “It also gives us   more daylight at the end of the school day.“  

Members of Alaska’s tourism industry have testified before the legislature that changing to Daylight Saving Time all year would boost the economy giving visitors more time in the evening to stay out and spend money. 

Ortiz says he believes other Western states are also looking to move to yearlong Daylight Saving Time. He says if his bill passes it will not disrupt trade or communication.

Ortiz’s bill only changes Alaska to yearlong Daylight Savings Time if the federal government acts first. 

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, has introduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023, federally ending the need to change clocks twice a year. 

“This ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid,” says Rubio. “Locking the clock has overwhelming bipartisan and popular support. This Congress, I hope that we can finally get this done.”  

Hawaii and Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation) are currently the only two states on Standard Time all year. 

In the past four years, 19 states passed laws to permanently switch to Daylight Saving Time. But currently Congress must first approve any state’s wish to change to Daylight Savings Time all year.   

For Republican Sen. Rand Paul from Kentucky, Rubio’s bill is a states’ rights issue.  

“The sunshine protection act will allow states the freedom to decide if they want to permanently follow daylight savings time. without needing approval from Congress,” said Sen. Paul. “I’m glad to join Sen. Rubio in introducing this commonsense legislation.”

Last year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed Rubio’s Sunshine Protection Act legislation, but it died in the House. Then, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, refused to allow a vote on the floor for the legislation, despite its bipartisan popularity. 

With Republicans now controlling the House, Rubio’s bill may have a chance of passing this year. 

Alaska has been doing the time swap for over 80 years, as it first began observing Daylight Saving Time in 1942. 

Many Alaskans dread that first Sunday in November, a season when daylight is already in short supply, and darkness comes earlier and earlier with each passing day. During the month of November, Anchorage typically loses more than five minutes of daylight a day. Then, it seems out of nowhere, the darkness advances like a tidal wave. On one Saturday, the sun goes down at 5:49 p.m. The time changes overnight Sunday, and darkness falls as early as 4:47 p.m.

By the time winter Solstice hits on Dec. 21, darkness descends on Anchorage as early as 3:42 p.m.  

Most Americans experience the mostly unwelcome advancement of evening darkness but with Alaska’s long, dark winters, the change is all the more pronounced.

Dan Fagan is a reporter for Must Read Alaska. Email tips at [email protected].

16 COMMENTS

    • The Noticer – the change was made in 1983. Alaska used to have four time zones, now has two. The Alaska Time Zone and the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone for islands west of Unalaska.Before 1983, Southeast was on Pacific Time, with the rest of the West Coast. It had to move to what was then called Yukon Time, and later it became renamed Alaska Time. – sd

      • I recall wanting to have Anchorage closer in time to the NYSE when Sheffield signed the legislation and being two hours behind Seattle 1/2 of the year. I supported Anna Faircloughs proposal years ago but it never got traction. Would like to return to Standard Time and the previous time zones, markets run 24 hours a day now.

    • To make business easier statewide. Wanna make AK time standard based on Nome? Go for it.

      Also, we are the state capital. Wanna move the capital? Go for it.

      The whole time change thing is silly anyway.

  1. When I was on St Lawrence Island we were technically in the Hawaiian Time zone but we went by Alaska time. I’m looking forward to the time change because right now, it gets dark too early for me. Down here the thugs all sleep in in the morning, and Jacksonville, the murder capital of Florida starts waking up around dark30.

  2. I hate, HATE this stupid and pointless game of playing with the clocks twice a year. I could see the patent idiocy of it even when I was young.
    Daylight Saving Time is MEANINGLESS, and simply annoying, for no purpose whatsoever. It is also a lie — there is no “saving” involved whatsoever. A governmental decree cannot add any extra daylight to the day.

  3. Alaska is *always* on daylight time now. Sunday at 2 AM we will be on double daylight time.

    The clock change is almost insignificant IMO, because of our rate of change during the steep part of the daylight graph. We’ll have half of the time change in the evening in a week anyway.

  4. Alaska needs to go back to Standard Time and 5 time zones. This puts the sun closer to noon during the year and would be more in sync with the three biorythms

  5. With all this snow and glaciers on our roofs. We can really use this “extra” sunshine in the evening to get things melting. (Sarc)
    Permanent Daylight Savings has my vote.

  6. Daylight savings time needs to go away as we were 24 seven world now.
    It’s just an inconvenience and a couple states don’t even change so much to use. Last time we try to do it as a state Southeast wine and cried, so why don’t we in Anchorage just away with it if the southeast wants to change, they can create every time zone. The whole thing is a stupid waste of time now. Does it make any difference? The world still goes round and round

  7. I prefer The Masked Avengers idea…Base AK standard time on Nome AND move the state capital to Nome as well but leave ALL the liberals in Juneau!

  8. Who is heating up my ionosphere? Is it you belching cows or is it you weather warfare? Is it you biotically produced renewable oil ? since the term fossil fuel is an outdated myth? Is it the common denominator across all fields of study? Is it the problem solution? First, accurately present the problem?

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