It’s official! Governor Kemp has signed a bill to keep Georgia on daylight saving time (DST) permanently – pending federal approval. No more springing forward or falling back. And, now you don’t have to worry about being an hour early or late after the time changes!! The bill received bipartisan support to eliminate the need to change clocks twice a year.
GREAT NEWS — The Senate on Tuesday (March 15, 2022) approved a proposal to make daylight saving time permanent, which if passed in the House and signed by President Biden, means Americans won’t have to set their clocks back an hour and lose an hour of afternoon daylight in the fall and winter.
Sponsors of the bill believe DST keeps people safer, saying that it promotes a safer lifestyle overall. Longer daylight hours make driving safer which means lower car accident rates and less risk of pedestrians being hit. Daylight hours are also safer for those spending time in the evening jogging, walking the dog or playing outside due to increased visibility and lower criminal activity.
Senate bill sponsor Ben Waton, R-Savannah, said studies show an increase in heart attacks and judges imposing harsher criminal sentences just after time changes. “You don’t need me here to tell you your sleep patterns are disrupted for two weeks in spring and fall,” Watson said.
A possible downfall? This change could mean that at certain times of year there is a two-hour difference with neighboring Alabama –if the state remained on Central Time. This will be super awkward for Georgians living near the border, where driving a few miles will mean a two hour time difference.
Georgia is not the first state to make this change. Statistics from the National Conference of State Legislatures show that 15 states have enacted legislation in the last four years to provide for year-round daylight saving time. And, Hawaii and most of Arizona stay on standard time all year.
What does this mean?
Good question! While Kemp’s signing could lead to the end of the changing the clocks, an act of Congress is required to allow the change due to federal law. As of 2021, Congress has not acted on allowing the change. A decision to change the DST requires the legislation to go to Congress for approval, while a change to standard time would not. At the moment, Congress is not making time change approvals a high priority. This means Georgians should continue to expect to set their clocks back and forth a bit longer.
What is Daylight Savings Time?
Daylight Saving Time (DTS) is a seasonal time change where clocks set forward one hour from standard time in the spring and then back again in the fall. This time change method was put in place to make better use of daylight hours, but it has been controversial ever since it began.
Several states have already voted on new time changes that have gone on to Congress for approval. Arizona and Hawaii have both switched to standard time while California, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Maine have chosen to observe DST year-round. Of course, this decision doesn’t come without several mixed opinions.
The biggest concern regarding DST is the effects on health and safety. Toggling the clocks back and forth may not seem like a big deal, but that one hour change from standard to daylight saving can make a huge difference. Disruptions in a person’s circadian rhythm can have serious impacts on their health and well-being. Studies have even shown a significant increase in health issues like heart attacks and strokes, as well as car accidents and other injuries, occur more frequently the week after switching times due to short-term sleep deprivation.
Despite the cons against keeping DST, the majority of Georgians wish to continue observing it. Many legislators are concerned about how the local economy would be affected if the state switched from DST considering more daylight hours means more people staying out later and increasing sales for businesses.
Let us know in the comments what you think about the time change?