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Maine lawmakers propose dropping daylight saving time change

Sens. Rick Bennett, R-Oxford, and Joe Baldacci, D-Bangor, have each proposed bills to remain on standard time for the entire year.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Every November, we turn the clocks back an hour, and each March, we turn them back forward an hour. Daylight Saving Time has been the norm for decades, but some lawmakers in Maine say it's time for a change.

"It's very disruptive, I think it disrupts all of us. And it's unnecessary, it's anachronistic," Sen. Rick Bennett, R-Oxford, said. 

Bennett has proposed two bills in the Legislature this session that aim to have one standard time in Maine for the entire year.

"Maybe it had a purpose at one point, but I think it's outlived whatever utility it had," Bennett said. 

One bill proposed by Bennett aims to keep Maine on Eastern Daylight Time, which we currently have during the spring and summer. 

Another bill proposed by Bennett would direct the University of Maine to study and analyze the potential impacts of staying on one standard time year-round.

"I think people want consistency instead of having to play a game with the clock," Sen. Joe Baldacci, D-Bangor, said. 

Baldacci is proposing a similar bill and said he and Bennett are both supportive of each other's efforts. 

"We both share the idea that just keeping one time, whether it's this or the other proposal, will actually be well received by Mainers," Baldacci said. 

According to Baldacci's proposed bill, if approved, Maine would observe Eastern Standard Time, which we currently have in the fall and winter all year. 

Both Baldacci's and Bennett's proposed bills would create exemptions to allow the laws to go into effect in Maine if they receive federal approval. 

Maine isn't the only area considering ditching the time change. Earlier this month, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio re-introduced the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make Daylight Saving Time permanent. 

Members of Maine's Congressional Delegation tell NEWS CENTER Maine they are open to the idea.

"Congress should consider legislation like the Sunshine Protection Act, which would add more daylight to the late afternoon and may help reduce energy costs," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, wrote in a statement.

"Like many Maine people, I’m tired of 4 p.m. sunsets and time-change whiplash that throws our collective routines out of whack. The advantages this back-and-forth system brought over a century ago are mostly gone, and the complications to our households and global economy have only magnified over time," Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, wrote. 

Last year, Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, cosponsored the Sunshine Protection Act in the House and said she's in support of ending the time change.

"For more than a century, Americans have been subject to an outdated ritual that requires us to change our clocks twice a year, disrupting our way of life and creating unnecessary confusion. In Maine, ‘falling back’ means weeks of sunsets before 4 p.m. Making Daylight Saving Time permanent nationwide means more time for kids to play outside after school. It means we will finally be rid of this imbalance imposed on us twice a year. It's clear making this change has broad bipartisan support in Congress and across the country, and I’m happy to help make it happen," Pingree wrote.

"I support the Sunshine Protection Act. By extending Daylight Saving Time nationwide from eight months to year-round, this bipartisan legislation would end the need to change our clocks twice a year and give people an extra hour of daylight in the evening during the winter. Maine passed a law in 2019 indicating our state’s interest in year-round Daylight Saving Time, and I supported a bill to make a similar time change for our state when I served in the Legislature," Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, wrote.

Three bills regarding the end of Daylight Saving Time in the Maine Legislature are before the State and Local Government Committee. A work session to further discuss the proposals is expected to be scheduled soon. 

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