ALBANY — Fall back, or spring ahead, might be a thing of the past as the New York State Senate will consider opting out of daylight saving time in its current legislative session.
A pair of bills look to do just that.
Introduced by Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, S3928 would establish a task force to evaluate the effects of opting out of daylight saving time. That group would consist of individuals from the state departments of health, agriculture and markets, and economic development.
At a minimum, Senate documents say the task force would look at relevant studies to economic and health impacts, and cited one study which estimates a $433 million cost to the American economy from the time change.
If passed, results of the evaluation would be made available by April 1, 2020.
Another bill, introduced by Sen. James Skoufis, D-Woodbury, specifically requests that the federal government approve the state’s move to Atlantic Standard Time.
In his justification for Senate bill S7080, Skoufis said daylight saving time results in productivity loss, increased car accident risk, and health consequences for residents.
“This switch is compounded by New York’s position in the Eastern Standard Time Zone,” Skoufis said. “If the state switched to Atlantic Standard Time, sunsets would be an hour later each day — a change would be especially helpful in the winter, when the sun would no longer set before 5 p.m.”
Unlike a shift to permanent daylight saving time, which must be approved by an act of Congress, a shift to a different time zone can be approved through a regulatory process by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The change would only take effect if the same motion is approved in Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, so as to avoid regional confusion for residents and those who commute for work.