Lawmakers Weigh Exempting Alaska From Daylight Saving Time

A state Senate committee has advanced a bill that would exempt Alaska from daylight saving time.

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The bill, from Sen. Anna MacKinnon, moved from the Senate State Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

It would exempt Alaska from the annual time change beginning in 2017. That means Alaska would be five hours behind the East Coast, instead of four hours behind, from about March to November.

MacKinnon told the committee that there are health impacts associated with changing the clocks each spring and fall, and she wants to help Alaskans avoid those. Those include increased rates of heart attacks, suicide and traffic accidents in the spring, she said.

Under the Uniform Time Act, the state has the authority to exempt itself from daylight saving time, but not to change time zones entirely.