Martin O'Malley, Maryland governor, to sign bill requiring a statewide study of school start times

(WJLA) – Students in Maryland could get an extra hour of sleep before school depending on the results of a statewide health study on school start times.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will sign a new landmark bill Thursday that will require the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to conduct a study of morning bell times and recommend whether public schools should have a start time of 8 a.m. or later.

The bill, H.B. 883, is the first piece of legislation to provide guidance to local school districts on appropriate school start times. Organizations such as the Maryland Parent-Teacher Association, board of education and other experts and organizations are expected to be consulted during the study, as outlined in the bill.

The Office of Public Health Services is expected to submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly before the end of the year.