Commission looks at 'changing times' in Massachusetts

November 02, 2017 07:37 PM

Days before we fall back with the clocks, Massachusetts has moved one step closer to switching time zones.

A special commission recommends a move from Eastern to Atlantic Time. They want other states to go along with them.

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A change like this would be pretty significant. It could affect everything from schools to businesses to how you watch television.

It's that time of year again when we mess the clocks and people's sleep schedules. However, what if you didn't have to do it -- maybe keep Daylight Saving Time in perpetuity instead of falling back to Eastern Standard Time?

Massachusetts may be doing it. A special commission is recommending a plan to shift the Bay State to the Atlantic Time Zone. It’s something that parts of South America and a little bit of northeastern Canada follow. It's the same time as Daylight Saving Time, which means residents in Massachusetts wouldn't have to turn their clocks this weekend and they want other states in the Northeast, including New York, to join in.

“There’s no good reason why we're changing these clocks twice a year,” argued Democratic Massachusetts State Senator Eileen Donoghue.

Dr. Valerie Rapson, an astrophysicist at the Dudley Observatory at MiSci in Schenectady says the practice started in 1966 for some good reasons -- to try to maximize daylight.

“So the theory is we can enjoy the time more. There's more time for farming. We might even use less energy, less crime. Those are all of the things that they're quoting would be helpful,” explained Rapson.

Some say it even helps with the economy -- people go out dining and shopping more.

Dr. Rapson says deep winter would be a little different around here. The sun would set around 5:30 instead of 4 or 4:30. However, the sun wouldn't rise until 8:30 in the morning.

“Think about the kids that have to go to school. If the sun doesn't rise until 8, 8:30 in the morning, now they have to stay under the bus stop at 6:45 in the dark,” pointed out Rapson.

Dr. Rapson says you might also have to stay up later for those late night programs in the West Cost -- so your television habit might be affected as well.


WNYT Staff

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