ATLANTA, Ga. – State lawmakers in both the House and Senate push to end time charge for Georgia once and for all.
For years, Rep. Wes Cantrell (R – Woodstock) has introduced legislation that would prevent people from changing their clocks every March and November, but with little success. If passed, House Bill 44 would recognize daylight saving time year-round. Cantrell admits that the legislation doesn’t grab headlines like the pandemic, but it doesn’t mean legislators can’t tackle both issues.
“There’s a whole spectrum of issues, and we can deal with things that aren’t as important at the same time as things that are important,” said Cantrell
Supporters highlight many potential benefits that could mean fewer car accidents to better mental health, even lower energy costs.
“It’s [daylight saving time] good for health. The afternoon commute is typically when the bulk of accidents occur, and if that commute is in the daylight, it cuts down greatly on car accidents,” says Cantrell. “A lot of petty crime happens in the early evening that we can cut into, along with some energy savings involved when the daylight occurs later in the evening.”
The bill doesn’t come without its detractors. Some suggest that going to daylight saving will put Atlanta into an economic bind with major financial cities like New York and Boston. Others argue that if better mental health is the objective, lawmakers should look at the standard time because it’s associated with less daylight, potentially giving people more opportunity to sleep.
Another argument against daylight saving time is that states don’t need Congressional approval for standard time. That’s one of the reasons Sen. Ben Watson (R- Savannah) introduced Senate Bill 100. Watson’s bill favors standard over daylight saving time.
Both HB 44 and SB 100 carry multiple co-sponsors with both Democrat and Republican support, and each bill passed through their respective committees with flying colors.
It wasn’t long after the passage of the federal Uniform Time Act in 1966 that states started to question the validity of time change. In 1967 Hawaii never enforced daylight saving time, mainly because the sun would rise and sets at the same time each day. Excluding the Navajo Nation, Arizona followed suit in 1968. So far, thirty-two states have introduced similar legislation that Cantrell proposes.
Sen. Watson and Rep. Cantrell agree that Georgia is ready to pick one or the other, but not both.
“People hate the time change,” says Cantrell. “Out of all the things I’ve done, this is by far – not even close – this is the most popular thing.”