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Massachusetts Could Leave the Eastern Time Zone, Jump an Hour Ahead

In a region where winter darkness comes early, an extra hour of sunlight could be a boon for the economy

Six years ago, when Tom Emswiler moved from Washington, D.C., to Massachusetts, he saw something that shook him to his core: The sun went down at 4:11 p.m.

As NBC News reported, Emswiler, a 37-year-old public health advocate, is now one of 11 members of a state commission studying whether Massachusetts should leave the Eastern Time Zone and join the Atlantic Time Zone. In a region where winter darkness comes early, an extra hour of sunlight could be a boon for the economy and a godsend for public health, according to supporters of the shift.

The state "could make a data-driven case for moving to the Atlantic Time Zone year-round," the commission said in a draft report released in September. A second draft will be put up for a final vote on Nov. 1, and the issue could then go to lawmakers, according to a spokesman for Eileen Donoghue, a Democratic state senator who chairs the panel.

"I knew I was moving north, but I had no idea how far I was moving east, and so you can imagine my horror when in December the sun was setting" in the mid-afternoon, Emswiler told NBC News on Wednesday.

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