Indiana legislation tackling time zone issues die

| 2/22/2008

An Indiana bill died that sought to 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 to put the question to a statewide vote met the same fate.

Both bills remained in committee at the deadline to advance from the House to the Senate, effectively killing them for the year.

Sponsored by Rep. Nancy Dembowski, D-Knox, the first bill – HB1047 – would have allowed 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 have needed 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 have needed 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 affects on the day-to-day lives of many Hoosiers and on economic development throughout the state,” Dembowski said in a written statement prior to the bill’s demise.

A separate bill – HB1038 – would have asked voters whether Indiana should be on a single time zone. Sponsored by Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes, the bill also sought to ask voters which time zone they want to be included.

The referendum would have been advisory only.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Indiana in 2008, click here.