Since we said, as we did a few days ago, that the Legislature is wasting time with a bill to outlaw daylight-saving time in Alaska, we have come up with a new idea. If the lawmakers are going to continue dabbling with the clock, they should quit thinking about banning daylight time and take a big leap in the other direction.
Let's stay on daylight time all year.
Doing away with daylight time is a bad idea because it would worsen the already difficult and well-known problems caused by Alaska being four time zones away from the U.S. East Coast.
But if the Legislature would take the other tack and keep Alaska on daylight time year-round, the state would be an hour closer to the East Coast -- and on the same time as Seattle -- for half the year. And we'd forever put behind us the need to change our clocks every April and October.
Look at it this way:
During the longest days of the year, around June 20-21, the sun rises about 20 minutes after 4 o'clock in the morning and sets around 11:40 p.m. That results in almost 19 hours and 20 minutes of sunlight and 4 hours and 40 minutes when the sun is just below the horizon and the nights are not really dark at all. That wouldn't change under our year-round daylight time proposal.
But in the dead of winter, around Dec. 21, sunrise would be pushed off until 11:15 a.m., instead of an hour earlier than is now the case. Sunset would be an hour later than now, coming about 4:40 p.m. instead of 3:40 p.m.
Admittedly, some might object to the later sunrise -- but really the change would be a welcome tradeoff, providing more daylight later in the afternoon. And what's the difference, anyway? The sun is low on the horizon at that time of the year and the days are relatively dark. The difference would hardly be noticeable.
So our conclusion is this: Keeping Alaska on daylight time all year round is an idea whose time has come.
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