Kemp signs bill aiming to keep Georgia in daylight saving time

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Gov. Brian Kemp has signed a bill to keep Georgia in daylight saving time permanently.

The idea of setting clocks permanently has bipartisan support in the Georgia Legislature, but supporters debated the two possible solutions to the problem. In 2021, Georgia officials passed two bills, one in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate, that would eliminate the need to change clocks twice per year. 

In the end, both the House and Senate agreed to keep the state in daylight savings time.

Sponsors of the bill believe it would keep people safer, saying an extra hour of daylight could reduce crime and car accidents.

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.

Moving to daylight saving time year-round would impose a two-hour difference with neighboring Alabama if the state remained on Central Time. That could be awkward for Georgians living near the border, where a few miles would mean clocks were severely inaccurate.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 states have enacted legislation in the last four years to provide for year-round daylight saving time.

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.

Currently, Hawaii and most of Arizona stay on standard time all year.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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