Indiana legislation tackles time zone issues

| 1/22/2008

An Indiana bill would require a public question to be put on the ballot asking voters in certain counties in the state whether they prefer the Eastern or Central time zone. A separate effort would put the question to a statewide vote.

Rep. Nancy Dembowski, D-Knox, has introduced a bill that would allow residents of counties bordering the dividing line between the time zones to have a voice in whether their county executive should petition the U.S. Department of Transportation to initiate proceedings to change the time zone. The governor would need to sign off on the petition before it could be sent to the federal government.

At least 2 percent of registered voters in each county would need to sign a petition supporting the time zone question before it could be put on the ballot.

Since daylight-saving time was implemented in the state in 2006, all but 12 of the state’s 92 counties are in the Eastern time zone. The counties that recognize the Central time zone are located in the northwest and southwest parts of the state.

Daviess, Dubois, Knox, Martin and Pike counties recently switched from Central to Eastern time.

“Time zone regulations have significant effects on the day-to-day lives of many Hoosiers and on economic development throughout the state,” Dembowski said in a written statement.

A separate bill would put ask voters whether Indiana should be on a single time zone. Sponsored by Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes, the bill also would ask voters which time zone they want to be included.

The referendum would be advisory only.

The bill – HB1038 – is in the House Public Policy Committee. Dembowski’s bill – HB1047 – is in the House Interstate and International Cooperation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Indiana, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor