ATLANTA — The General Assembly decided Wednesday to leave the standard versus daylight saving time debate up to Congress.
On the final day of this year’s legislative session, the state Senate voted 45-6 to put Georgia on daylight saving time permanently. But under federal law, that change can take place only if Congress makes daylight time permanent nationwide.
The Senate, which passed legislation in February to put Georgia on standard time all year long, voted instead on Wednesday to side with the Georgia House of Representatives, which favored year-round daylight time.
The one point of agreement between the two chambers throughout the 2021 General Assembly session was that Georgia should stop switching back and forth between standard and daylight time twice a year.
Sen. Ben Watson, R-Savannah, and Rep. Wes Cantrell, R-Woodstock, who sponsored two competing versions of the bill, cited a number of studies to their legislative colleagues describing disruptions to sleep patterns and more serious health issues that increase in frequency following time changes, particularly the yearly “swing forward” shift from standard to daylight time.
However, Georgians will continue switching back and forth under the bill that gained final passage Wednesday, unless and until Congress takes action. The legislation now heads to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature.