By Bob Katzen
The special legislative commission charged with studying the practical, economic, fiscal and health-related impacts of the state remaining on Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) throughout the calendar year held its first meeting last week. The commission was created last year and its report and recommendations are due March 31, 2017. Currently, the Bay State is on EDT only when we push the clocks ahead during the period of the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. During EDT, evening daylight lasts an hour longer while sunrise is an hour later.
Supporters of permanent EDT say that it delivers more sunlight in the evening after work and school when people can enjoy it, rather than during the morning rush. They argue that studies show it helps businesses, saves energy, reduces robberies and improves physical and mental health.
Opponents question the energy savings and say that studies have shown that EDT increases risk of a heart attack. Some farmers say the practice leaves them with an hour less sunlight to get crops to market and tampers with the milking schedules of cows which often do not adapt easily to a sudden shift. Many parents and schools oppose EDT because it makes sunrise times much later and results in children being out on dark streets on their way to school.
The commission has not yet scheduled its next meeting. All meetings are open to the public. You can find out the date of the next hearing or offer your opinion via e-mail to the committee’s chair Sen. Eileen Donoghue at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail at: State House, Room 112, Boston, MA 02133.