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Massachusetts is considering leaving the Eastern Time Zone

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A state commission is studying whether Massachusetts should abandon the Eastern Time Zone for the Atlantic Time Zone, according to NBC News.

NBC News on Wednesday reported that the switch would give Massachusetts an extra hour of sunlight.

Supporters of the swap contend that it would boost Massachusetts’ economy and the public health of its residents.

“[Massachusetts] could make a data-driven case for moving to the Atlantic Time Zone year-round,” the 11-member commission said in a draft report released last month.

A second draft will get put for a final vote on Nov. 1, according to a spokesman for Eileen Donoghue.

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Donoghue is the Democratic state senator who chairs the panel, and her spokesman noted the issue could then go to lawmakers after the vote next week.

The Atlantic Time Zone currently contains the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and Canada’s eastern provinces.

Massachusetts making the change would effectively mean the state functions on daylight-saving time all-year.

The commission said in its draft report potential benefits of the transition include boosted consumer spending and drops in certain kinds of crime.

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The report cautioned, however, that Massachusetts should not act alone as it could disrupt “commerce, trade, interstate transportation and broadcasting” across the region.

A majority of the other states in the New England area would have to follow Massachusetts’ lead and make the alteration.

The report added that schools may have to start later, in part so students do not have to commute to classes in the dark or start learning while they are “not fully awake.”

Commission member Tom Emswiler on Wednesday said that the “positive benefits” exceed the potential costs.

“There has to be a better way,” said Emswiler, who has pushed for Massachusetts to make the change since 2014.

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