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Commission: Massachusetts Should Change Time Zones, But Not On Its Own

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts has taken a key step toward shifting time zones, but don't expect a change anytime soon.

A special commission of 11 members has been working for months to study the issue of moving from the Eastern to Atlantic time zone. The commission reported Wednesday that after studying its potential effect on crime, the economy, school start times and other factors, the Bay State should make the switch, but not by itself.

"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," Commission chairwoman Sen. Eileen Donoghue said.

She hopes the report prompts other northeast states to consider switching time zones.

"There's no good reason why we're changing these clocks twice a year."

"This is a beginning of a discussion, not the end," she said.

"The discussion may or may not happen here in the state legislature.  Indeed it may happen on a regional basis," said Donoghue.

The move would put Massachusetts (and any other states involved) in the same time zone as the Canadian Maritime provinces, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and several other Caribbean and South American countries.

The commission studied the pros and cons of the move and found, for example, retailers liked the idea of more daylight late in the day for shoppers. Educators objected because it would be dark when students head to school; to that, the commission recommended later school times.

They also said there would be less crime, fewer traffic accidents and we would actually save energy.

The change would affect some industries in a positive way. Massachusetts cranberry growers, whose harvest peaks in the fall, will be up against an earlier sunset after Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday. They say every hour of daylight is precious for them.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports: 

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