Group tries to rekindle time zone debate

FILE - Custodian Ray Keen checks the time on a clock face after changing the time on the 97-year-old clock atop the Clay County Courthouse, in this Nov. 6, 2010 file photo taken in Clay Center, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/WANE) – Is Indiana in the wrong time zone?

That is the argument being made by a coalition of people who want this state moved from the Eastern Time Zone to the Central Time Zone.

It is a debate that always comes up at this time of year because our clocks change on Saturday night. It’s time to Spring ahead.

For some, however, there is a desire to set the clocks back year round.

The Central Time Coalition was at the Statehouse Thursday in an effort to restart the time debate in this state.

“The problem in Indiana isn’t with daylight saving time,” said Erin Debrota. “It’s that we’re in the wrong time zone.”

But ever since Indiana voted to adopt Daylight Saving Time on a close vote in 2005 lawmakers have been unwilling to revisit the issue.

State Representative Jeff Thompson, R-Lizton, filed a resolution calling for summer study committee this year to look at time related issues, but even he likes the way things are now.

“I like Eastern time, I do, but it’s not about me,” said Thompson. “It’s not about personal preferences, it’s about what’s best for students and our economy.”

“We are running two hours in front of our biological clocks,” said coalition member Jim Disney.

He and other members of the coalition argue that it’s often too dark in the morning for students to go to school.

“That’s what’s really important, the safety and the well-being of the citizens,” said Sue Dillon, “not whether I can play golf in the evening.”

The coalition has had 47 school boards sign on, along with 2,500 voters but it’s going to take more than that to get state lawmakers involved.

Lawmakers from Northeast Indiana saw the group campaigning at the statehouse Thursday. They said they don’t see much potential for any sort of change.

“I don’t sense that there’s any real momentum for central time. We’re right on that border, so you’re always going to have a contingent of people that would rather see central time vs eastern time, and then, us on this side of the state, kind of like the Eastern Time. I don’t expect it to happen. I think there are a couple of areas of the state that are Central Time and for them and their communities and the economics of that area, they’re working with the states to the west of us and it makes sense for them. For those of us in the rest of the state, I anticipate us sticking on Eastern Time,” Representative Martin Carbaugh said.

“To be honest, to the best of my knowledge, I don’t think there’s a bill or even an interest in pursuing that this session. I would guess because we’re in a budget year and we’ve got literally bigger fish to fry. Funding education and those sorts of things are on every legislators mind first and foremost. I don’t see it happening. They’d have to get someone to sponsor the bill to make the kind of change, and I can only imagine that that would be a very, very expensive change. It’s not just a matter of changing our clocks. I can’t imagine that businesses would want to add that expense because it would be not just the government changing, but others in terms of changing office times and things like that,” State Senator Liz Brown said.

House Speaker Brian Bosma was asked if there is an appetite for a time change. He said no. When asked if there will be a study committee to look into it he said no. He was then asked if he ever wants to deal the time issue again. Again, he said no.

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