Talking points newsletter

Are the days of ‘Spring forward, Fall back’ numbered?


Feeling groggy today? Many of us still need to shake the sense of jetlag that comes with losing that hour as we spring forward our clocks.

Daylight saving time has many fans. But few people cheer the lost sleep that comes along with the later sunsets.

This annual March ritual isn’t going away tomorrow — but it might disappear sooner than you think. An ad hoc state commission studied the ramifications of switching to Atlantic Standard Time, which is the same as staying on our daylight saving time year-round. The commission last fall recommended making the change but only if schools start later in the day and a majority of other states in the region go along.


The report essentially came too late in this two-year session for any serious bill to emerge as a result. But Senator John Keenan of Quincy and his staff plan to work with Tom Emswiler, the Keenan constituent who proposed the idea, to craft a bill for the session that begins next year.

Other New England legislatures considered the concept, too. But none went as far as Florida’s lawmakers, who last week sent what they call the “Sunshine Protection Act” to Governor Rick Scott, to put that state on year-round Atlantic Standard Time. The bill’s catch: Congress needs to approve. The US Department of Transportation can also authorize such a switch, but the bill doesn’t mention that option.

Proponents say the extra afternoon daylight in the colder months would save energy, while prompting more people to shop or go out to eat. And getting a good night’s sleep is hard enough. This is one opportunity, they say, to eliminate an arbitrary disruption.

Jon Chesto is a Globe reporter. Reach him at jon.chesto@globe.com and follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.