Indiana Time >

Debate 1:
Daylight Saving

Debate 2:
Eastern vs Central 

More Info
Indiana Time
Most of the State of Indiana is on Eastern Time. (Since the 1960s)
All of Indiana observes Daylight Saving Time. (Since 2006)

In 1961 the Interstate Commerce Commission moved 43 counties in Indiana (including the Indianapolis Area) to Central Time. The decision to split the state did not go over well and as a reaction the Governor requested the state be moved back to Central Time. After several years of study and debate it was determined to move 37 more counties to Eastern Time (a total 80 of 92 counties). Daylight Time was not officially observed in the Eastern Time zone.

For over 35 years the sun rose as late as 8:19a (7:50a twilight) in South Bend. Then in 2005 the state legislature voted to observe Daylight Saving Time state wide. The time that the sun rose in winter did not change but suddenly 8:19am became "too late" for the sun to rise, emotional pleas were made to move Indiana to Central Time.
The sun did not rise any later in winter than it did in 1969 - yet "early morning darkness" somehow became a critical issue that must be solved by moving the entire state to Central Time or ceasing to observe Daylight Saving Time?

If there are ill effects to a "late" sunrise those effects should be seen in all areas with "late" sunrises. Not just Indiana. Indiana is not the furthest west in their time zone. (Northern Michigan is darker in winter as well as further west.)

Let us not get sidetracked by issues that were not caused by the time zone.

What do our opponents want to change?

There are two debates in Indiana:
1) Should Indiana observe Daylight Saving Time?
2) In which time zone should Indiana be placed?

The issues are related ... counties in Central Time have observed Daylight Saving Time with the rest of the Central Time zone since the beginning of time zones while (until 2006) most counties in Eastern Time remained on Eastern Standard Time year round. Not observing Daylight Saving Time put Indiana out of sync with the rest of the United States.

Where should the boundary be between Central and Eastern time? Federal law specifies that time zones be assigned "for the convenience of commerce." Counties on the time zone boundary have valid commerce based reasons to choose either time zone.

Starke County in northwest Indiana is a good example of a border county that could be in either time zone. Starke County was in Central Time until 1991 when they moved to Eastern Time. They returned to Central Time in 2006. Starke County's ties to LaPorte County to the north tie the county to Central Time while their ties to Pulaski County to the south and the South Bend television market tie the county to Eastern Time.

Pike and Perry Counties have similar issues choosing which time zone to which they should be tied. Pike was in Central Time until 1977, Eastern Time from 1977 to 2006, and then Central Time from April 2006 to November 2007 (as part of a five county block that changed time zones). Perry County was in Central Time until 1969, then Eastern Time from 1969 to 2006 and has remained on Central Time since April 2006.

The Indiana counties near Louisville KY and Cincinnati OH have a similar problem. They have ties to their out of state neighbors that ran deep enough that they "unofficially" followed Eastern Daylight Time instead of Indianapolis Time prior to 2006.

... for the convenience of commerce ...

Federal Law states: "The limits of each zone shall be defined by an order of the Secretary of Transportation, having regard for the convenience of commerce and the existing junction points and division points of common carriers engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, and any such order may be modified from time to time."

All discussions about setting time zones should begin with commerce. While other arguments can be persuasive, the arguments that will be most effective when asking the Secretary of Transportation for a change will be commerce based. (More information is available here.)

The Two Debates:
Daylight Saving Time
Eastern Time vs Central Time