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Indiana Hopes to Move to Central Time Zone

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Published 1-Sep-2010

Indiana’s time issue has been debated for years and once again state representatives plan to introduce legislation that hopes to synchronize the entire state to Central Time. The move will push the clocks in most of the state back one hour from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) from Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5) to Central Standard Time (UTC-6).

State of Indiana Capital Building

Moving to Central Standard Time will turn the clocks back one hour for 80 counties in Indiana.

©iStockphoto.com/toddtaulman

Eastern Time vs. Central Time

For many years, Indiana's 92 counties have debated and gone their separate ways on issues related to daylight saving time and time zones. Indiana State Representative Phil Hinkle plans to introduce legislation in January to move the entire state of Indiana to the Central time zone hoping that it will give the people one more hour of sunshine in the morning and one less hour in the evening.

The state currently has 12 counties on Central Time while the other 80 counties are on Eastern Time. Although the state is split into two different time zones, each county in Indiana has remained constant in observing the daylight saving time (DST) regulations that started in 2006. Many school boards across the state are showing their support for the move to Central Time and argue that the extra hour of morning sunlight will make it safer for schoolchildren and morning commuters during the dark winter months.

The Central Time Coalition is an organization that has been educating and promoting the benefits of moving the entire state of Indiana to Central time. Their study shows that Indiana currently has 120 days with sunrises before 7 a.m., while New York has 290 days, Chicago 272 days and Los Angeles 330 days. However, if Indiana moved to Central Time it would give the state 315 days of sunrises before 7 a.m., which is more than twice the amount if the state remains in Eastern Time.

Although many support the move to Central Time, there are still some that argue that Indiana should be on the same time as New York City because of the stock market.

Indiana’s Time Zone History

Ever since the Standard Time Act positioned Indiana in the Central time zone in 1918, there has always been dispute or disagreement about what was considered the “official time” within the state. The Interstate Commerce Commission divided Indiana between the Eastern and Central time zones in 1961, but the new time zone line was not consistently observed. The state’s counties varied in observing different time zones in the 1960s and 1970s. A few counties switched to different time zones from the late 1970s onwards.

On January 18, 2006, the United States Department of Transportation announced a final rule that would change the clock for eight of 17 Indiana counties seeking to move to the Central Standard Time. These counties, which included the Starke, Pulaski, Daviess, Dubois, Knox, Martin, Perry and Pike counties, moved to the Central Standard Time on April 2, 2006, when the nation switched to daylight saving time.

Five of these counties, including Daviess, Dubois, Knox, Martin, and Pike, returned to the Eastern Standard Time in November 2007. By then, 80 of Indiana's 92 counties follow the Eastern Standard Time and only 12 counties observed the Central Standard Time. However, a bill was approved by the Indiana House committee in January 2008 for a referendum to allow residents of any county located near the Eastern-Central boundary to vote the time they wanted to observe.

Indiana’s time zone and daylight saving issues have been a controversial topic debated by both the general public and politicians alike for years, such as in the 2008 elections. It is likely that debates, disagreements and discussions over time zones and daylight saving time in Indiana will continue in the future. timeanddate.com will provide updates about the proposal to switch Indiana’s time zone as the information becomes available.

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