Over the last two years there have been a series of op-eds and public questioning in Massachusetts over the time the sun sets. Last year on December 9th, the sun set at 4:11 p.m.
Tom Emswiler, a healthcare administrator, made the case that the early sunset is hurting New Englanders. He cited physiological problems, including increased rates of heart attack in the days following a clock change from daylight savings time, and depression and lack of motivation after the sun sets so early. He also cited the area's problems with retaining its college grads. A 2013 Boston Federal Reserve study showed New England had the worst retention rates of its college graduates, with only 63% of the 2008 class remaining in the area a year after earning their diplomas.
Governor Charles Baker has heard the cries. He recently signed a bill ordering a study to examine the effects of changing the Massachusetts time zone so that the sun would rise later and set later, with the belief that less sun in the morning is less depressing than less sun in the evening. It would likely try to persuade neighboring states to consider switching en masse to the Atlantic time zone.
Baker says he recognizes people could leave New England for a number of reasons, including the harsh winters, and that a few more surrounding states would likely need to show support for a similar bill in order for a time zone change to be effective.
The legislative commission administering the study is required to report its findings to Baker in July, at which point the government could seriously consider changing time zones.