Following is the latest report from Congressman Rob Woodall of Georgia’s 7th Congressional District
FORSYTH COUNTY REMAINS HEALTHIEST IN GEORGIA FOR SIXTH STRAIGHT YEAR
We strive for excellence in Forsyth County and across the Seventh District, and I’m proud to say we reach that goal more often than not! Whether it’s economic opportunity, education, athletics, quality of life, and the list goes on and on, we’re consistently leading the pack – and that doesn’t just happen. It’s a representation of our people. It’s a reflection of the character of those making up our community. We want to build successful businesses that attract good employees. We want to provide the best possible education and growth opportunities for our young people, and in so doing, we nurture the principles that produce the health and vitality we see at every turn. Of the 159 counties in the State of Georgia, Forsyth County has been named the healthiest (as determined by multiple factors) for six consecutive years, and Gwinnett County followed closely behind number four! That impressive feat is one more feather in our cap perhaps, but we know it’s much more than that. Thanks to each of you for what you do and the ways in which you keep us moving forward and improving. With our many and varied passions and talents being put to use, I’m confident that that drive and partnership will continue to produce success!
- Forsyth County News. Forsyth named healthiest county in Georgia for the sixth year
In last week’s newsletter, we started highlighting some constituent mail that has come in over the past week. While there are certainly plenty of bigger issues to cover, one of the more frequent inquiries I received this past week was about daylight saving time. As you no doubt know, on March 11th at 2 a.m. we “sprung” forward an hour to begin daylight saving time, increasing the amount of daylight during our normal working hours for the next eight months. Here are what a few of you had to say about the time change:
Douglas from Lawrenceville:
Dear Mr. Woodall, Thank you for representing our district in the House of Representatives. I am writing you to urge you to introduce or support legislation that would remove the daylight savings time switches from our calendar altogether. This switch is arbitrary and causes a great deal of stress on families, especially those with young children. Thank you for your consideration.
Jewel from Duluth:
Time to abolish daylight saving time. Once again, my family, friends, and colleagues are walking around half asleep every day. The twice-annual time change wreaks havoc on people’s lives, and there is no good reason to subject people to this torture. The common reasoning is that it saves energy, but numerous studies show it does not. Offices and businesses do not change their lighting habits based on it. They keep their lights on all day (and night if necessary) regardless. Just walk around any office building any time of day. Most modern office buildings are already equipped with sophisticated energy control systems that have nothing to do with outside light. Yet many other studies have shown the highly detrimental effects on people. especially on sleep patterns and health effects. DST is a scourge that people have to endure. And one day recovery time is not enough. It takes the human body weeks to recover from the sleep disturbances. Let’s end this misery once and for all. End DST.
Robert from Cumming:
Congressman Woodall, While we are all thinking about springing forward, let’s make 3/11/2018 the last time we are forced to adhere to an outdated practice. It’s no longer necessary and is another example of a solution to a problem that no longer exists. The costs/problems associated with artificially changing our time far outweigh any benefits received. Thank you for your efforts to not Fall back.
As you can see, the change in time has been blamed for everything from sleep loss to increases in traffic accidents to millions of dollars in lost productivity to even heart attacks. But why do we change our clocks every March and November?
In the United States, daylight saving time began during World War I, but it was only observed sporadically to save energy—mostly during times of war. It wasn’t until 1966 with the Uniform Time Act that daylight saving time was standardized across the country, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) was tasked with enforcing the law. However, the law allows individual states to exempt themselves if they choose, and now Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states that have done so. Over the years, the length that we have observed daylight saving time has fluctuated, but since the Energy Policy Act of 2005, we observe it from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.
DOT states that daylight saving time is beneficial because it saves energy by allowing more people spend time outdoors and use less electricity; it prevents traffic accidents, because there is increased visibility in the daylight; and it reduces crime, because more people are out during the daylight. For those reasons, Florida recently passed a law to keep the state on daylight saving time all year round. The problem, however, is that the Uniform Time Act only allows states to exempt themselves from observing it—not expanding it. Therefore, the federal government must act in order for Florida’s law to go into effect. That is why Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Jeanette Nunez (R-FL) recently introduced the “Sunshine Protection Act” and the “Sunshine State Act,” both of which would make daylight saving time the standard time across the nation.
Either solution — eliminating daylight saving time altogether or keeping it year round — would address the concerns of people like Douglas, Jewel, and Robert. And some studies dispute the economic benefits of supporting the change to year-round daylight saving time. In fact, a 2007 Department of Energy report found that daylight saving time only saved the United States .03 percent in electricity costs, .02 percent in total energy consumption, and it had no statistically significant change in traffic volume or gas consumption. As such, last week the House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to DOT to look into further detail on the effects of daylight saving time on the United States.
While I am not certain of the fate of the bills proposed by Senator Rubio and Representative Nunez, I am eager to hear from DOT on the effects of daylight saving time on the United States and to see if daylight saving time is truly helpful or just a twice a year headache. In the meantime, I would encourage you to contact your state representative and senator if you would like to see Georgia change how it observes daylight saving time.
- New York Times. Year-round daylight saving time? Florida says yes, but it’s not so simple
- The Hill. Rubio legislation would keep daylight saving time year-round
THE WEEK AHEAD
I normally look forward with hope to every new work week, but this week, I admit that I’m filled with some sadness. My good friend and Rules Committee Colleague, Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY), passed away Friday morning, and today, I know that our first Rules Committee Hearing since her passing will difficult for all of us.
For all the partisanship that people believe exists every day in Washington, D.C., I can tell you honestly that on the Rules Committee – which is made up of only 13 House members – while we disagree on policy, we are family. We spend hours each week in a small room on the third floor of U.S. Capitol working together to get the business of the American people accomplished, and when there are only 13 of you; you get to know one another well. Representative Slaughter was the first woman in history to chair the Rules Committee, and through her over 30 years representing the people of western New York, she never lost her zeal for service, her dogged determination to pass legislation that she felt passionately about, or her good humor in working with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle. I was privileged to have known Louise as a colleague and a friend, and I know that everyone on the Rules Committee will miss her greatly.
And as the Rules Committee gets back to work today, we will be bringing more important financial services reform bills as well as the FY18 Omnibus Appropriations Act to the floor. I expect the Appropriations bill to pass the House with strong bipartisan support, as it’s been debated and worked on for months between House and Senate leaders, and it will finally put an end to the FY18 funding process while allowing us to move on to FY19. As always, you can go to http://docs.house.gov to see the most updated list of bills that the House will vote on this week.