(Indianapolis, Ind.) - The semi-annual Daylight Savings Time switch this past weekend has renewed the debate over whether Indiana should be on Eastern Time or Central Time.
In 2005, Indiana’s legislature and then Governor Mitch Daniels decided to put most of the state on Eastern Time and acknowledge Daylight Savings Time. It was a move largely welcomed by southeast Indiana – no more confusion over “fast time” or “slow time” when arranging meetings and deadlines in Ohio or Kentucky – but Hoosiers in other parts of the state have been frustrated.
A group called the Indiana Central Time Coalition is calling for Indiana to be an hour later than eastern states. The group says it’s a safety issue because when the time switches, children are heading for school and to meet the bus in the dark. In the summer, sunlight can still be plentiful after 9:00 p.m. as some people are going to bed.
The group claims that “many conditions have changed since 1966 when 80 percent of Indiana was moved from Central to Eastern – transportation, delivery of goods and people, business and personal communications, safety issues for students as a by-product of school consolidation, etc. Indiana’s time zone issues have never been vetted.”
State Senator Mike Delph (R-Carmel) submitted a Central Time resolution at the start of the 2013 legislative session. In it, he asks for a study committee to investigate the possibility of Indiana petitioning the U.S. Department of Transportation to convert to Central Time as the state’s default time zone.
“The time that should be observed in Indiana has been a continuing issue of controversy; Whereas, The general assembly finds that it would be in the best interest of the citizens of Indiana to be located in the Central Time Zone,” the resolution read.
The bill was quickly referred to the Senate Rules Committee, where bills usually go to die, in January. However, Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton) has said he will introduce a similar bill in the House.
Currently, not all of Indiana observes Eastern Time. Portions of northwest and southwest Indiana go by Central Time.