Maine Bid to Shift Time Zones Fails

By: - June 16, 2017 12:00 am

Arizona resident Ray Harwood is one of a few hobbyists who have been tracking the movement across the country to abolish daylight saving time, or keep it year-round. Bills in Maine and other states have failed to get off the ground this year.

© The Pew Charitable Trusts

The clock ran out on a Maine proposal to move to Atlantic Standard Time year-round.

The Maine Legislature tabled a bill that would have locked the clocks, according to the Portland Press Herald. The change would be the equivalent of staying on daylight saving time year-round.

A growing number of states have been considering bills to eliminate daylight saving time, or stay on daylight saving time year-round, as more research indicates that the biannual ritual of changing clocks is harmful to public health, productivity and safety. This year, about half of states have considered or are considering time-related bills.

But, like the bill in Maine, many of the proposals have failed to get off the ground. Maine’s bill would have allowed voters in the state to approve the change through a referendum. But that step would only take place after Massachusetts and New Hampshire approved a move to Atlantic time, which didn’t happen this year.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Donna Bailey, a Democrat, told the Press Herald that staying on daylight saving time is “better for our health and for the stability of Maine businesses, schools and families.”

Under federal law, all states that choose to participate in daylight saving time must do so on the schedule set by the federal government, moving an hour ahead on the second Sunday in March and moving an hour back on the first Sunday in November.

If a state wants to be on daylight saving time year-round, it needs to change time zones. To do this, a state would need to ask Congress to approve a law, or ask the U.S. secretary of transportation for permission. Then, the state would opt out of daylight saving time and stay on the new schedule year-round. This year, lawmakers on both coasts said they want to team up with lawmakers in other states to ask the federal government for approval.

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Jen Fifield

Jen Fifield reports on rural issues for Stateline, She has covered government in Maryland and Arizona. She has won several regional journalism awards, and was recently a fellow in the Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She graduated with honors from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.