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Indiana: Time for consistent clocks

The state, one of three that doesn't observe daylight saving, may finally spring forward to end a confusing and costly time warp.

By Associated Press
Published April 17, 2005

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana, one of the nation's last holdouts for observing daylight saving time, may be on the brink of changing its clocks.

For the first time in more than two decades, the Indiana House has passed a bill that would require the entire state to move its clocks forward an hour in April and back an hour in October - just as 47 other states do. Arizona and Hawaii are the other states that do not observe daylight saving time.

Knowing just what time it is on a trip through Indiana is no easy task: 77 counties in the Eastern time zone do not change clocks while five others do. The state also has 10 counties in the Central time zone that do observe daylight saving.

Gov. Mitch Daniels has made mending the split a top priority - saying the time warp costs the state money and jobs. Businesses say it causes mixups over airline flights, delivery times and conference calls.

"If it were just a matter of the rest of the world laughing at us, I'd say let 'em laugh," Daniels said in his State of the State speech in January. "But the loss of Hoosier jobs and incomes is no laughing matter, and any step that might help is worth trying."

Bill Blomquist, a political science professor at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, said Indiana's resistance to changing its clocks is rooted in states' rights issues, beliefs that humans should not alter time, and a sense of pride in doing things differently.

"There is sort of this Hoosier exceptionalism that shows up in daylight saving time," he said.

A House-Senate committee will take up the bill Monday, but roadblocks remain. Some residents still oppose the proposed change, and lawmakers have to pick a time zone and determine when to make the change - later this year or next April.

Darrell Bowden of Westfield, a suburb north of Indianapolis, said he thinks things are fine the way they are.

"I don't like changing my clocks twice a year," he said. "Why doesn't the rest of the country get in step with us?"

Bowden is in the minority, according to a recent statewide poll by the Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis television station WTHR. The poll found 56 percent favored daylight saving, while 37 percent opposed it.

Mark Plank of Syracuse, in northeastern Indiana, previously worked for an office furniture supplier and said confusion over Indiana's time cost the company customers.

But he has personal reasons for backing the change, too. Observing daylight saving would give his kids an extra hour of sunlight to play "and give me more time to do yard work in the evenings."

[Last modified April 17, 2005, 00:26:13]

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