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Maine House Votes To Change Time Zones If Mass. & NH Go First

AUGUSTA, Maine (CBS) – The push by some New England states to change time zones and ditch the twice-yearly ritual of turning clocks back and forth has taken another step forward.

Legislators in the Maine House of Representatives passed "An Act To Opt Out Of Federal Daylight Saving Time" on Thursday. The bill states that Maine would ask the federal government to put Maine in the Atlantic Standard Time Zone – but only if Massachusetts and New Hampshire do so first.

New Hampshire lawmakers have also OK'd following the lead of the Bay State. A Massachusetts state commission has been studying the issue.

Those who support the switch say studies have shown there are more accidents in the spring and more health concerns such as heart attacks as people lose an hour of sleep.

Bill sponsor Rep. Donna Bailey of Maine notes that in the 70s, the United States extended Daylight Saving Time year round for a few years during the oil crisis.

"The Department of Transportation studied the results of those years of extended DST and concluded that extended DST saves energy, reduces crime, saves lives and reduces traffic accidents," she testified.

The State House News Service reported last month that the chair of the Massachusetts commission studying the time zone switch said "the information the panel has gathered so far is 'really pointing in the direction' of a change that would keep Massachusetts on Eastern Daylight Time year-round."

"I think the jury's still out, but I will tell you the direction that the hearings are going and all the experts are presenting really are raising serious, serious questions as to why we're flipping clocks twice a year," Sen. Eileen Donoghue said.

One reason that some oppose changing time zones is the prospect of children waiting for a school bus in the dark.

Gov. Charlie Baker has indicated that he is not in favor of changing time zones.

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