CITIZEN VOICES® Make Daylight Saving Time permanent in NH?
Feb 27, 2019
Tired of turning those clocks back and forward? HB 567 would move New Hampshire to Atlantic Standard Time, which would effectively make Daylight Saving Time a permanent state of affairs.
The law would only take effect if Massachusetts and Maine got on board. A law to move to Atlantic Standard Time passed the Maine Senate in 2017 but was shot down in the House. In Massachusetts, a study commission concluded that a move to Atlantic Standard Time would be good for the Bay State, so long as the rest of the Northeast did so as well, but a bill to make the change stalled last year.
Rhode Island has also considered joining the Atlantic Standard Time party, and Connecticut is wrangling with a time zone change bill this year.
This isn't the first time New Hampshire has considered the switch. A similar bill two years ago passed the House but died in the Senate.
How can states change time zones?
Time zone changes can happen one of two ways: either by an act of Congress, or through a regulation issued by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The secretary can only authorize a state’s time zone change if that change is requested by the highest local authority.
If HB 567 passes – and Maine and Massachusetts pass similar laws as well – the law directs New Hampshire’s governor to apply to the transportation secretary to approve the Granite State’s switch to the Atlantic Time Zone.
Arguments for and against switching time zones
Supporters of switching to Atlantic Standard Time argue that having more daylight hours in the evening throughout the year would boost economic activity, since people are more likely to go shopping or out for entertainment while the sun is up.
Opponents argue the move would lead to confusion, since clocks would continue to change for Daylight Saving Time in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast. They argue that any changes to time zones should take place at the federal level, such as a nationwide elimination of Daylight Saving Time.
Others argue that they prefer having more daylight in the morning during the winter months.