PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- On Thursday, the Maine House voted in favor of a bill that would move Maine to Atlantic Standard Time year round; no more falling back or springing ahead.
As it stands right now, we're an hour behind Canada's Atlantic provinces. Those behind the bill would like to see Maine, along with Massachusetts and New Hampshire, go to Atlantic time as well. This means we would be an hour ahead of folks in the rest of New England, New York, and points south.
When we set the clocks back in Maine every fall the days get shorter, with sunsets coming at around 4 p.m. The bill's sponsors, and some people we talked to in Portland, say it's not necessary.
"It was supposed to be an energy savings, there's no energy savings and it's a pain in the neck," said Portland resident Mark Barnett.
Supporters also point to a wide range of studies over the years that show the twice yearly time changes can lead to more strokes, heart attacks and car accidents, especially in the days right after the change while our bodies adjust.
If Maine makes this switch, sunsets would move closer to 5 p.m. in the winter and sunrise around 8 a.m.
Jeffrey Barkin, MD, a psychiatrist in Portland says that wouldn't be great for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder because morning light is more important than afternoon light, but he also says they can be treated with light therapy.
"Changing darkness and light is going to affect some people but most people travel, most people go to different time zones and do just fine," said Dr. Barkin.
The later sunrise could also make it harder for children to wake up for school, unless school start times are adjusted to reflect the new time zone.
The New Hampshire House of Representatives has also passed its own version of this bill. Massachusetts has a commission studying the issue.