August 20, 2019
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Maine ticks toward a statewide vote on time zone change

Brian Swartz | BDN
Brian Swartz | BDN
The clock reads 2:47 p.m. on Bangor's Unitarian-Universalist Church in a 2014 photo.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Progress in the Legislature often can be measured with a sundial, but a bill that would eliminate daylight saving time and put Maine in a different time zone than most East Coast states took another step forward Tuesday.

The House and Senate have both preliminarily approved the bill, but there was disagreement over whether the change should be subject to a statewide referendum. Tuesday’s vote in the House put the two chambers in agreement that Maine voters should weigh in before changing their clocks.

The bill now faces enactment votes.

The bill would shift Maine to the Atlantic Standard Time Zone year-round, which means for part of the year Maine’s clocks would align with those in eastern Canada and Puerto Rico and be an hour ahead of states in the Eastern Time Zone.

A clause in the bill would not shift Maine’s time zone unless New Hampshire and Massachusetts make the same change. The issue is also under consideration in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The federal Uniform Time Act allows states to decide whether they participate in daylight saving time, though a change requires approval by Congress or the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Gov. Paul LePage has indicated that he will veto the bill. He said during a radio interview last week that this bill is “insane” and that supporters ought to have a “therapy session.”

It passed without a vote last week in the Senate and 91-48 on Tuesday in the House. That is not enough support to override a veto.



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