Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

04/16/2009 09:00 AM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Location Change --
Heard & Held
Moved CSHB 19(L&C) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 106(STA)(TITLE AM) Out
             HB  19-ELIMINATE DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME                                                                          
9:33:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD announced the consideration  of HB 19. [CSHB 19(L&C)                                                               
was before the committee.]                                                                                                      
CRYSTAL  KOENEMAN,  Staff   to  Representative  Anna  Fairclough,                                                               
Alaska State  Legislature, said HB 19  eliminates daylight-saving                                                               
time (DST)  in Alaska. She  has been  doing research and  has had                                                               
discussions  with constituents  and the  people of  Alaska. There                                                               
are health, safety, and annoyance issues associated with DST.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   ANNA  FAIRCLOUGH,   Alaska  State   Legislature,                                                               
sponsor of  HB 19, said some  say that this is  a frivolous issue                                                               
to take up at  this time. She waited two years  to bring the bill                                                               
forward. She  has many constituents  who are very  concerned. She                                                               
referred to a letter  she sent out to those on  both sides of the                                                               
issue. Polls  show that Alaskans  support the repeal of  DST. The                                                               
Alaska  State Chamber  of Commerce  did  a poll  that showed  the                                                               
opposite.  Businesses  are against  the  repeal.  She found  that                                                               
there are geographic  differences in the answers.  But there have                                                               
been two  statewide surveys  that say  most Alaskans  support the                                                               
repeal. Daylight  and dusk  doesn't mean a  lot to  many Alaskans                                                               
for most of the  year. In Nome it takes ten days  to make up that                                                               
hour that  we jump forward.  In Juneau it  takes 13 days,  and in                                                               
Seattle it takes  a little more. "We've come a  long way since we                                                               
argued about  wax and wicks  in World  War I," or  since Benjamin                                                               
Franklin spoke about being able  to manipulate energy consumption                                                               
and save  wax and wicks.  "We have  air conditioners that  run in                                                               
the evening now,  and cooling systems that are  much different in                                                               
energy consumption."  Alaskans believe  that technology  is there                                                               
to help with the challenges  that businesses think they will face                                                               
by  repealing DST.  Schools don't  support DST.  Over 500  people                                                               
responded to her with emails.  Schools were disadvantaged for two                                                               
to ten days  with increased restlessness; teachers  told her that                                                               
test scores  change; and  school boards are  taking up  the issue                                                               
throughout  Alaska. They  are trying  to figure  out if  they can                                                               
take formal  positions. "Wrangell is in  opposition, and Wrangell                                                               
is located in Southeast."                                                                                                       
9:39:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH   said  there  are   workforce  safety                                                               
issues. The  Anchorage Police Department said  "the hour increase                                                               
does reduce accidents on our  road because of the transportation,                                                               
and  conversely, in  the fall,  it goes  back up  when we  plunge                                                               
people back into  darkness." She asked Chugach  Electric if usage                                                               
went up  or down.  Only looking at  one year,  energy consumption                                                               
did  go down  the  weekend  following DST,  but  it  went up  the                                                               
following weekend. Weather  was a bigger factor.  The best reason                                                               
for  stopping  this  madness  of   flipping  clocks  and  wasting                                                               
people's time is  health. The New England Journal  of Medicine in                                                               
March, 2009,  noted that heart  attacks increase the  first three                                                               
to five days by five percent  "when we jump on to daylight-saving                                                               
time." Everyone  enjoys the extra hour  of sleep a lot  more than                                                               
losing  it.  A 2008  study  in  Germany  found  that there  is  a                                                               
sensitivity  to   time  changes  for  those   who  have  seasonal                                                               
affective  disorder or  depression.  It is  like  jet lag,  which                                                               
takes its toll  on the body, "but you actively  choose to do that                                                               
and you know  that you need to  get more sleep so  you either fly                                                               
in early or  you make up that sleep at  another point." But one's                                                               
health is put at risk. Doctors  say that youth have a harder time                                                               
with  the circadian  rhythm readjustment.  Their hypothalamus  is                                                               
not fully developed.                                                                                                            
9:42:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH said  there  are  genuine concerns  in                                                               
business and industry. The best  argument is the inconsistency of                                                               
time "if we were off and the rest  of the nation was on." This is                                                               
a three step  process, and the committee  has what Representative                                                               
Fairclough  believes is  the right  first  step: having  Alaskans                                                               
stop risking their health and  just staying on a consistent time.                                                               
Hawaii and Arizona  are not on DST. Indiana just  went on DST and                                                               
had $9 million  in increased energy use. The second  step will be                                                               
a resolution asking  the federal government to  stop the madness.                                                               
The third  step will be  introduced today. It will  consider time                                                               
zones. Western Alaska is at a  disadvantage. When it is high noon                                                               
there, the clocks say 3:00 p.m. It's not healthy.                                                                               
CHAIR MENARD  said she works in  the dental field, and  often has                                                               
to contact the  East Coast during the day. It  makes it difficult                                                               
when seeing an emergency patient,  and the East Coast offices are                                                               
closed by 1 p.m. Alaska time. This bill would add another hour.                                                                 
9:45:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH  said she  worked in  retail management                                                               
for years, and she was in  contact with the East Coast. She asked                                                               
businesses what time they start  work. Typically staff come in at                                                               
about 8  o'clock. Every time  she called  the East Coast  at that                                                               
time, people were out to  lunch. A four-hour difference would run                                                               
into  their lunch  time.  "I  understand that  we  would have  to                                                               
recognize seven  months of the  year we  would be four  hours off                                                               
and five months of the year we  would be four hours off." That is                                                               
why it  is a three  step process. This  should be the  first step                                                               
for health reasons.                                                                                                             
SENATOR MEYER  asked why this was  done. "Was it for  the farmers                                                               
so they'd have more time out in the fields?"                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH said  the history is in  the packet. In                                                               
World Wars I and II, America  was faced with energy shortages. By                                                               
going "dark" we  could save money. Farmers were  brought into it,                                                               
but the farming  community has been in opposition  for years. The                                                               
cows  have to  be milked  when the  cows have  to be  milked, and                                                               
jumping the clocks doesn't work.                                                                                                
SENATOR MEYER said  he grew up on  a farm and never  knew why the                                                               
farmers got credit for daylight  savings. It is more confusing to                                                               
have the time difference vary from four hours to five hours.                                                                    
9:48:33 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH said,  "If  you deal  with Arizona  or                                                               
Hawaii, it's already  happening." It depends on  how much someone                                                               
deals  with  marketers. "You  still  would  have three  hours  to                                                               
communicate." They are the same  three hours because they are out                                                               
to lunch. It  is confusing. "They would spring  forward; we would                                                               
not." More Alaskans would live, and that's a good thing.                                                                        
WAYNE  STEVENS,  President  and  CEO,  Alaska  State  Chamber  of                                                               
Commerce,  said there  will be  unforeseen economic  difficulties                                                               
associated with the passage of  HB 19. The state chamber supports                                                               
any proposal to eliminate DST  at the federal level, because that                                                               
would maintain  the current differentiation in  time zones across                                                               
the United  States. Passage  of HB 19  should be  postponed until                                                               
there  is an  exploration  of the  economic  effects on  Alaska's                                                               
businesses. Eliminating  DST will disadvantage  Alaska businesses                                                               
by  reducing  the number  of  hours  to interface  with  business                                                               
partners, advisors,  customers, and  suppliers for  a substantial                                                               
portion of  the year.  Private and  public finance  entities will                                                               
obviously   be  negatively   affected.   Digital  technology   is                                                               
programmed for daylight  savings, and Alaska would  have the cost                                                               
of synchronizing. Alaskans must be  assured that vendors would be                                                               
willing  to provide  program patches  in a  timely manner  to all                                                               
equipment and  devices, like cell phones,  medical equipment, and                                                               
others that adjust automatically to DST.                                                                                        
9:52:11 AM                                                                                                                    
THOMAS  CARBENDER, North  Pole, said  he figures  Alaska has  DST                                                               
because  "the folks  in Washington  DC would  like to  get in  an                                                               
extra nine." Most electronic devices  have a checkbox for DST, so                                                               
the electronics issue is moot.  A website gives plenty of reasons                                                               
why  Alaska shouldn't  have daylight  savings,  and Ms.  Koeneman                                                               
presented most  of them.  DST is  now two  weeks earlier,  so the                                                               
older   electronics    don't   even    work.   The    House   [of                                                               
Representatives] has spent  a great deal of time on  DST, and the                                                               
conclusion  is that  Alaska doesn't  need it.  The Senate  has to                                                               
have  three hearings,  and so  go ahead  and hold  the other  two                                                               
hearings to get this to the  Senate floor for a vote. Most people                                                               
in Alaska see DST as a pain. "Twice  a year you have to fight the                                                               
clocks and try  to figure out what  to do and not  to mention the                                                               
health risks and everything else."                                                                                              
BOB TOBEY, small business owner,  Copper Center, said he lives in                                                               
rural Alaska and  opposes this bill. This will  put Alaska behind                                                               
the East  Coast for half  of the year.  As a business  owner that                                                               
deals with East  Coast distributers, this will  cost time, money,                                                               
and convenience. The  added delay to the Lower  48 also increases                                                               
the  difficulty  in  communications   with  family  and  friends.                                                               
Outside travel and connections become  more difficult. "We should                                                               
not increase  our isolations  by adding  another hour  delay." He                                                               
remember the  difficulties in  the 1970s when  Alaska was  one to                                                               
four hours off  of the time in the Lower  48. Health studies only                                                               
look at  the impacts on  one day a  year. What about  the health,                                                               
cost, and  inconvenience many Alaskans  will have on a  much more                                                               
frequent basis when conducting business?  A detailed study of the                                                               
real costs  to Alaskans  will likely find  it to  be overwhelming                                                               
negative and far outweigh the brief  benefit of one hour of extra                                                               
sleep. He supports  one time zone, and it would  be far better to                                                               
stay on DST  so at least for  half of the year  Alaska would only                                                               
be separated from the East Coast by three hours.                                                                                
9:56:59 AM                                                                                                                    
PAULA RAK,  Wrangell, said  she is  opposed to HB  19 as  she has                                                               
been  every time  it comes  up. When  Alaska first  switched from                                                               
four time  zones to one,  Southeast Alaska compromised  by losing                                                               
the extra hour of  daylight in the evening so it  could be on the                                                               
same  time zone  as Anchorage.  "We're not  happy about  it, but,                                                               
none-the-less, that's the  way it is." If DST  were eliminated it                                                               
would be as if the Railbelt  area were on its original time zone,                                                               
and  Southeast would  be  two  hours off  --  "we  like being  on                                                               
Pacific Standard time." The bill reneges  on a deal that was made                                                               
years ago.  The trend in  the states is  to have DST.  Arizona is                                                               
the  only  state  left  that   doesn't  have  it.  DST  has  been                                                               
lengthened by  starting earlier. She  has heard that  people want                                                               
to eventually  stay in one  time zone all  year round and  - [she                                                               
was told to wrap it up]. It  is a lifestyle issue. "We would gain                                                               
an hour in  the morning before work when we  couldn't use it. The                                                               
kids would lose an hour of  play time after school; we'd all lose                                                               
an  hour of  fishing time  after work.  It's just  not worth  the                                                               
9:59:54 AM                                                                                                                    
LYNN WILLIS,  Eagle River, said  he has no financial  interest in                                                               
this bill,  but he strongly  supports HB 19.  Alaska's population                                                               
is  683,000, and  they depend  on knowing  the time  of day,  and                                                               
their lives  are impacted by DST.  There ought to be  a clear and                                                               
compelling reason to  keep a law that has such  impact. It is not                                                               
energy  savings or  public safety.  Department of  Transportation                                                               
data showed  that vehicle accidents  in 2009  decreased following                                                               
the onset  of DST with  the caveat that  it was dependent  on the                                                               
weather. When  sunset is delayed,  sunrise is delayed.  Making it                                                               
safer  for  outdoor  activity  in  the  evening  makes  the  same                                                               
activities  less  safe  the  next  morning.  "Is  the  clear  and                                                               
compelling reason public health? No."  DST forces a change to our                                                               
internal  clocks  like  traveling   between  time  zones.  Recent                                                               
studies  are quantifying  the affects  of sleep  disturbance, and                                                               
they  show an  increase in  health problems  attributable to  the                                                               
onset  of   this  jetlag-like  sleep  disturbance.   DST  is  not                                                               
necessary  for  commerce.  Alaska  business  has  relations  with                                                               
Pacific Rim  nations, Hawaii, Arizona, and  Saskatchewan, none of                                                               
which use  DST. The permanent two-hour  difference between Alaska                                                               
and the Pacific  Coast was reduced to one hour  with the creation                                                               
of the current Alaska time  zone. Communication technology allows                                                               
commercial  transactions "24-7."  Personal convenience  is not  a                                                               
compelling reason to mandate use of  DST by every Alaskan. DST is                                                               
not popular with Alaskans. A  clear majority either favor the end                                                               
of DST  or have no opinion.  Four previous bills calling  for the                                                               
repeal of DST and a bill  calling for a statewide referendum have                                                               
been blocked  in various  committees. He read  a letter  from the                                                               
newspaper. "They  say they  support the repeal.  A lack  of sleep                                                               
may  be to  blame  for the  Swedish study  that  says there's  an                                                               
increase  in heart  attacks  cited in  the  Readers Digest."  For                                                               
elderly  people,  they  found that  it  aggravated  their  health                                                               
problem. "You  owe these people  an explanation if you  oppose HB
10:03:04 AM                                                                                                                   
JIM ADAMS,  Nome, urged support for  HB 19. Many people  turn the                                                               
heat down at  night, and if the  clock is moved up,  they have to                                                               
turn their heat up sooner. He was  on a cruise ship, and when the                                                               
captain announced they were going off DST, everyone cheered.                                                                    
FAITH  BARNES, Cordova,  said  she is  in favor  of  HB 19.  Time                                                               
change contributes to sleep  disturbance, depression, and obesity                                                               
in children  and adults.  A person  who already  has a  hard time                                                               
sleeping will have  difficulty changing time -  it's just another                                                               
obstacle  to overcome.  Lack of  sleep contributes  to depression                                                               
and that can  contribute to eating disorders.  Health should come                                                               
before business.  Alaska should  do what is  best for  its people                                                               
and be a leader and not a follower.                                                                                             
SENATOR MEYER  said the  bill has  a few  more committees,  so he                                                               
would  like  it moved.  He  moved  to  report CSHB  19(L&C)  from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
note(s). There being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                          

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