By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
As Georgians prepare to return to Daylight Saving Time this Sunday, March 8 state llawmakers want to hear from voters on how the Peach State should keep time.
The state Senate unanimously passed legislation Monday calling for a nonbinding advisory referendum asking whether Georgia should continue switching back and forth twice a year between standard time and daylight saving time, observe standard time all year or go with daylight time all year. An identical bill is before the Georgia House of Representatives.
The question of time has become a hot topic around the country. Since 2015, at least 39 states have considered putting an end to the twice-a-year switch, Sen. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, the Senate measure’s chief sponsor, said during a brief floor debate Monday.
While most of those states are considering going with daylight saving time only, several scientific studies have concluded losing an hour by switching from standard to daylight time has health consequences, Watson said.
“There’s a higher risk of heart attacks during the two weeks following the daylight saving time transition,” he said.
Watson cited one study by the Association of Psychological Science that found the annual “spring forward” switch to daylight time even affects the legal system.
“Judges dole out longer sentences when they’ve been sleep deprived,” he said.
The federal government seems to have taken a stand in favor of standard time. States that want to move to daylight time all year must receive congressional approval to do so, while states wishing to go with year-round standard time can make the change on their own.
Two states – Arizona and Hawaii – observe standard time all year.
Grady County Emergency Management Agency Director Richard Phillips and Cairo Fire Chief Bill Schafer remind local residents to take this opportunity to replace the batteries in their home smoke dectors at the same time they “spring forward” their clocks on Saturday night.
Unless something changes Daylight Saving Time will end and we will “fall back” one hour on Nov. 1, 2020.
Messenger Editor Randolph H. Wind contributd to this report.