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Senate OKs bill to give Georgia voters daylight saving say

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ATLANTA – Georgia residents could soon get to vote on whether to keep changing their clocks twice a year for daylight saving time under a bill that unanimously passed the state Senate on Monday.

The bill, which passed 53-0, would add a nonbinding referendum question to ballots during this year’s November general election. Voters would be asked if the state should keep things as they are today, switch to year-round standard time or switch to year-round daylight saving time, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The outcome of the nonbinding vote wouldn’t result in any immediate change, but would be used to draft future legislation.

State Sen. Bill Heath, a Republican from Bremen who co-sponsored Senate Bill 351, said he was struck by studies that suggest the annual time change could have a negative effect on people’s health.

A mirror piece of legislation in the state House has not yet made it through committee.

Permanently moving to daylight saving time would require approval from Congress, but that likely wouldn’t come quickly, if at all.

The Florida Legislature passed a bill putting the state permanently on daylight saving time in 2018 and then Gov. Rick Scott signed it. Florida’s senior U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio filed a bill in both 2018 and 2019 to make the change both in Florida and nationwide -- so the Sunshine State would not be out-of-sink with the rest of the country.

Neither bill made it to the Senate floor for a vote, although his bill has picked up a few co-sponsors.