Last week, Georgia’s Senate passed a bill 46-7 that would end the state’s observance of daylight saving time.
If enacted, it would mean that Peach State residents would no longer need to prepare for “springing forward” or “falling back” each year. But they would also miss that extra hour of daylight each day between March and October.
California voted to make daylight saving time permanent in 2018, and Washington did the same in 2019. But federal law would have to change for these measures to take effect.
Unlike those bills, Georgia’s would place the state in standard time, and it would have an immediate impact.
The bill passed on a bipartisan basis last Wednesday, with 15 sponsors including Senator Michelle Au (D), and Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan (R). Both told CNN that their primary reason for supporting standard time is public health and safety.
“There is a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that these annual time shifts are bad for our health, disruptive to sleep cycles, and related to a higher immediate risk of heart attacks, strokes, cardiac arrhythmia, and even car accidents,” said Au in a statement. “Furthermore, a majority of Americans agree that they want to do away with this tradition of ‘springing forward’ and ‘falling back.'”
Dugan seconded these remarks, saying, “It’s been proven that there are health issues,” associated with the semi-annual time change. “It’s time to stick to one time,” he added.
One opponent of the bill was previously a co-sponsor. Senator Kim Jackson (D), voted against the measure, telling CNN that after “a great deal of research,” she believes that it would “plunge Georgians into darkness for eight months out of the year,” until the federal government acts.
The bill must now be voted on by Georgia House of Representatives. If passed and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp before March 14, Georgia would remain in standard time while other states “spring forward” into daylight saving time. However, if the bill passes after daylight saving time has already begun, it will not go into effect until October 2021, when daylight saving time ends.
Two bills have been introduced this Congress that call for daylight saving time to become permanent. They are the Sunshine Protection Act (H.B. 69) and the Daylight Act (H.B. 214). Both have been referred to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, but they have stalled there.