Sir Sanford Fleming persuaded the English government in 1879 to embrace separate time zones around the English Isles and the rest of the world in a bold understanding of the vastness of the planet and how the sun’s rise affected various regions of Earth.
Today, the whole United States, as well as Canada, has six time zones, spreading from Maine to Hawaii and the Samoan Islands. There are 24 standard time zones across the globe, with 38 various time zones employed, counting several oddities.
Recently, there has been a movement to change Maine to Atlantic Standard Time, sharing the same time zone as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. No longer a part of the Eastern Time Zone in the United States, this would be a seventh U.S. time zone. For at least half the year, Maine would be out of sync with the whole rest of the Eastern Time Zone – our primary business and social environment.
A bill in the Maine House of Representatives already has earned a 91-48 vote for acceptance – providing New Hampshire and Massachusetts pass similar resolutions. Passage still may require a statewide referendum, as well as a vote of approval by the federal government. Gov. LePage called the movement “nutty.” The New Hampshire Senate concurred, sending that state’s effort to the circular file.
Maine has several very serious issues. And the usual annual budgetary crisis yet looms ahead as a divided Legislature struggles to move forward on very real issues. With a topic barely on anyone’s radar distracting legislators from their true business, voters and citizens alike are left with wonderment. What Kool-Aid is in those Maine Statehouse water coolers?
Once again, a solution looking for a problem divides the Legislature and consumes valuable time. Meanwhile, issues throughout Maine requiring immediate attention and correction are left on the back burner.