Calls to end daylight saving time grow every year when it's time to change the clocks.
This year, however, states are taking action to kill the U.S. energy conservation policy.
Last week, a special commission in Massachusetts voted to recommend that the state remove itself from the latest version of the time-changing regime that was codified in the 2005 Energy Policy Act.
Massachusetts wants to permanently switch to Atlantic Standard Time, which is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. It would not roll back one hour on the first Sunday of November, when daylight saving time ends, nor move the clock ahead one hour in March when it begins.
Ironically, an amendment introduced by long-time Massachusetts congressman and now Sen. Ed Markey moved daylight saving time from beginning in April to beginning in March. The end of the period was changed from the end of October.
The Massachusetts commission has just one caveat before the state moves ahead: Nearly all of New England must do it, too.
“Massachusetts should only consider moving to what in essence is year-round daylight saving time if a majority of other Northeast states, also possibly including New York, also do so,” said State Sen. Eileen Donoghue, a Democrat, who headed the commission that the state assembly created to deliberate the issue.
But that might not be a big obstacle. Many of the Northeast states already have introduced bills, including Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
Most of the states' officials loathe their afternoons turning quickly into night in November after falling back. Maine and New Hampshire had been waiting on the Massachusetts commission’s vote to guide their state assemblies on any action.
The bills may not be going anywhere anytime soon. A bill that would end daylight saving time in New York is stuck in committee, although there seems to be widespread support among voters for changing it, according to reports.
Studies show a host of reasons to back out of daylight saving time, including decreasing the number of heart attacks and depression. Ill health effects have been shown to increase soon after daylight saving time ends.
“Early onset of darkness in the fall and winter months is highly correlated with an increase in traffic injuries and fatalities,” New York Police Department Chief Thomas Chan told a CBS local affiliate in New York City soon after the Massachusetts decision.
It also has been shown that keeping daylight saving time boosts economic prosperity.
But there are detractors, including one member of the Massachusetts commission, who see switching to Atlantic Time or permanent daylight saving time as having widespread negative effects.
"I strongly feel the final special commission’s report understated some of the challenges it would take for Massachusetts to move to the Atlantic Time Zone," said Republican state Rep. Paul Frost, who said he wanted further studies on costs and public safety concerns.
Frost, the only member of the 11-person commission to vote no, said he thought the commission should have been clearer on the need for New York to be on board before moving ahead with a time change.
"New York is the key, and it shouldn’t be understated," he said. "New York is absolutely needed to join as a condition for reasons concerning transportation, interstate commerce, economic development, and television broadcasting." He said the commission report remained "vague on this condition for some reason."
Last year, more than a dozen states introduced legislation to change daylight saving time.
California, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Washington introduced bills to make the spring forward permanent with no falling back. Alaska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming proposed to enact permanent standard time. But no states actually passed a bill.
Hawaii, Arizona, the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and then U.S. Virgin Islands do not abide by daylight saving time.