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Is it time for Georgia to spring forward permanently? Some lawmakers think so

Is Georgia ready for year-round daylight saving time?
Is Georgia ready for year-round daylight saving time?(WRDW)
Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 11:06 AM CST
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ATLANTA (WRDW/WAGT) - A legislative committee signed off on a bill to let Georgia switch to daylight saving time year-round.

Making that switch isn’t entirely in the hands of state, though; Congress would have to approve it.

In urging advancement of House Bill 44, Rep. Wes Cantrell, R-Woodstock, told colleagues Thursday that people hate changing the clocks twice a year, whether it’s to start daylight saving time or go back to standard time.

However, he said most people would prefer daylight saving time if they had to choose between the two. He said since we’re on daylight saving time eight months out of the year, switching to it permanently would be less of an adjustment.

He also said research showed staying on daylight saving time would cut pollution and help fight childhood obesity, among other benefits.

He said the one objection to year-round daylight saving time that he hears most often is, “What about the kids at the bus stop in the morning?”

“There’s no research to show that kids’ safety is in any way jeopardized by standing at the bus stop in the dark,” he said. He noted that even during standard time, kids are at the bus stop in the dark sometimes. And he said schools could adjust their schedules if needed.

Some of his colleagues on the State Planning and Community Affairs Committee — with a mixture of lawmakers attending in person and virtually — called for more time to study the matter and check the research cited by Cantrell.

However, committee Chairwoman Karen Mathiak said that wasn’t an option.

On a voice vote with only a handful of lawmakers opposed, the committee voted to advance the bill.

But don’t expect to be springing forward permanently anytime soon.

The bill next needs to approved by the full House as well as the Senate, then the governor. And Congress would need to grant the state an exception to the time changes observed by most of the country.

Several other states in the region — Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana — have already passed similar measures, so Georgia wouldn’t be alone in not changing the time, if Congress allows the move.

“It would basically be the entire Southeast, because I’m sure Alabama and Mississippi would tag along, as they often do,” Cantrell said with a slight grin.

On the other end of the spectrum are Arizona and Hawaii, which stay on standard time year-round. Doing so does not require congressional approval, Cantrell noted.

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