The most extensive study of the history of time zones in Indiana has been published in The American Atlas (197) by Thomas G. Shanks, where the author identifies 345 areas in the state with a different time zone history for each. In 1949, in a heated rural vs. City Debate, Indiana General Assembly Passed Bill to Put All of Indiana in Central Standard Time and Ban Daylight Saving Time.
However, the law had no enforcement power and was largely ignored by communities that wanted to observe Eastern Standard Time. The Indiana General Assembly passed a law to make Central Time the state's official time zone in 1957 but allowed any community to switch to daylight saving time during the summer. For example, Highland Indiana is in the EST time zone. However, the law made it illegal for communities to observe fast time (ie, Handley vowed to enforce the law by withdrawing state aid from communities that tried to observe rapid weather during the winter, although legal obstacles forced the Governor to back down in his stance.
Once again, the law was not applicable, and individual communities continued to observe their preferred time zone. In 1961, the Indiana legislature repealed the 1957 law that made Central Time the official time of Indiana, allowing any community to observe daylight saving time. The Interstate Commerce Commission divided Indiana into the Central Time Zone and the Eastern Time Zone. However, neither the time zone line nor daylight saving time was observed uniformly (see 50 FR 4374).
The United States Congress subsequently passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966 (Pub, L. Prior to the passage of this law, each state was allowed to decide this issue for itself. However, having the state divided into two time zones was inconvenient, so Governor Roger D. Branigin asked the USDOT to put all of Indiana back in the central time zone a year later.
Over the next two years, the USDOT held several hearings in response to Governor Branigan's request. Citizens in the northwest and southwest Indiana seemed to favor the central time zone with daylight saving time observance, while those in other areas of the state favored the eastern time zone without observing daylight saving time. The USDOT chose to divide Indiana between the Central Time Zone and the Eastern Time Zone. Six counties near Chicago (Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, and Starke) and six counties near Evansville (Posey, Vanderburgh, Warrick, Spencer, Gibson, and Pike) were placed in the central time zone respecting daylight saving time.
The rest of the state was placed in the eastern time zone; the state received a special waiver to exempt parts of itself from daylight saving time. Most parts of the state that were in the Eastern Time Zone did not observe daylight saving time. However, Floyd, Clark, and Harrison counties, which are close to Louisville, Kentucky; and Ohio, and Dearborn counties, which are near Cincinnati, Ohio, unofficially observed daylight saving time due to their proximity to major cities that observed daylight saving time. While the USDOT was considering where the time zone line should be, several broadcasters filed a federal lawsuit in 1968 to force USDOT to enforce daylight saving time in Indiana, which they won.
As a result, USDOT was ordered to stop informing Indiana residents that the Uniform Time Act would not apply and to provide a plan for its enforcement (see Time Life Broadcast Company, Inc. Indiana 196. In 1972, the Indiana General Assembly overturned a veto by Governor Whitcomb to place Indiana's northwest and southwest corners in the central time zone during daylight saving time, and place the rest of the state in Eastern Standard Time, subject to federal approval (see IC 1-1-8,. Indiana enacted the statute, officially placing northwest and southwest Indiana in the Central Time Zone, in observance of daylight saving time, and the rest of the state in Eastern Standard Time throughout the year. Several counties in eastern Indiana (Ohio and Dearborn counties, near Cincinnati; and Floyd, Clark, and Harrison counties, near Louisville) chose to observe daylight saving time unofficially, despite Indiana statute.
Attitudes began to change in the 1990s when Indiana's complicated time zone situation was considered to prevent the state's economic growth. Interstate travel and commerce were difficult, as people wondered, what time is it in Indiana? In 1991, Starke County asked USDOT to move it from the Central Time Zone to the Eastern Time Zone for the third time. This time, the petition was granted, starting October 27, 1991 (see 56 FR 13609 and 56 FR 5199). Pulaski County returned to Eastern Time on March 11, when daylight saving time resumed.
When Standard Time resumed on Nov. 3, all five Southwest Counties (Daviess, Dubois, Knox, Martin, and Pike) returned to the Eastern Time Zone. Perry County Petition to Move to Eastern Time Zone Denied. Decades-Long Indiana Time Zone Debate Remains Controversial.
Some argue that the entire state should move to Central Time, while others would prefer that the state revert to non-observance of daylight saving time. Opponents of putting the entire state in a time zone often cite out-of-state cities as their reason for opposition. For example, counties in northwest Indiana are part of the Chicago metropolitan area. Many residents travel to Chicago, which is in Central Time.
Counties in the southeastern corner of the state are suburbs of cities such as Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky, which observe Eastern Time. In the southwestern corner of the state, Evansville serves as the central hub of a tri-state area that includes southern Illinois and western Kentucky (both in Central Time). Supporters of daylight saving time and a common time zone in Indiana often claim that Indiana should adopt the Eastern United States timing system to preserve interstate business with that region. Some believe that Indiana companies have wasted hours of productive time with their out-of-state colleagues because the peculiarities of the weather are too confusing to keep track of on a daily basis.
The confusion caused to outsiders featured prominently in the plot of an episode of The West Wing in which presidential aides who were unfamiliar with Indiana's non-compliance with daylight saving time miss their flight back to Washington, D.C. Indiana is covered by the following areas in the TZ database. The columns marked with * contain the data of the zone, tab. In the late 1940s, the use of daylight saving time, known as fast time, became popular in cities.
Indiana is officially in the central time zone, but some communities choose to follow fast time throughout the year, essentially aligning with the Eastern time zone. But in 1985, the Indiana General Assembly, in Concurrent Senate Resolution 6 of 1985, asked the USDOT to move five counties in southwest Indiana (Posey, Vanderburgh, Warrick, Spencer, and Gibson) from the Central Time Zone to the Eastern Time Zone. Detractors of daylight saving time say scientific studies evaluating the impact of the time policy change on daylight saving time in Indiana have identified a significant increase in energy use and electricity spending by Indiana households.