By ELISE GIORDANO
To many, daylight savings time is a hassle. It is a variation from our regular schedules and is seen as an aggravation. But what if the time change were eliminated?
The bill to kill daylight savings time was introduced by Sen. Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River, and was passed by the Senate with a vote of 16-4 earlier this month.
She said she introduced the bill because studies have shown that daylight savings time results in the loss of productivity, as well as an increase of heart attacks and traffic accidents.
Currently, the change moves our clocks forward an hour in the spring, creating more daylight in the afternoon.
Were MacKinnon’s bill successful, most of Alaska would be five hours behind the East Coast and two hours behind Pacific states. The bill would also ask that some of the state be moved at least one hour forward to the Pacific Time Zone.
But more than synchronization with other states, is the importance of daylight, and what that means for businesses in Skagway.
Businesses like Wings of Alaska and TEMSCO Helicopters Inc. depend on daylight during the late summer months.
TEMSCO’s Skagway tour manager Paul Reichert said if daylight saving time were eliminated, it would greatly affect their business.
“It will reduce the number of departures that we will be able to have, especially from around the middle of August on. It will have quite a significant economical impact to us,” he said.
Reichert said from mid-August on, they would likely lose the last departure from each of their tours, a loss of nearly 40 guests per day, totalling between $300,000 and $400,000 in lost revenue.
“It’s a tremendous amount,” he said. “We are very much against that bill.”
Alaska Representative Sam Kito III said not too much has been happening on the House side with the bill, but that doesn’t mean something won’t happen in the next few weeks.
“I’ve been seeing comments about how this would disrupt business,” Kito said, adding that it would also disrupt family communication throughout the state.
He said if the change does take place, he will also oppose Southeast being in tune with Pacific time, as part of the year Skagway would be with Seattle and the other half it would not.
“My position is simple. I oppose doing a change independent of a national change,” he said.