Indiana lawmakers beat the clock during the waning minutes of the legislative session to narrowly adopt daylight-saving time.
The DST bill passed the House by one vote, and only after failing to obtain a constitutional majority the first time it was voted upon. Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican who included the divisive issue in his campaign, intervened to muster more support.
House Speaker Brian Bosma held the voting board open for several minutes during the second vote until Rep. Troy
Woodruff, a freshman Republican from Vincennes, supplied the 51st “yea” needed for passage. Bosma then closed the machine and announced the bill’s passage.
So, beginning in April, Hoosiers will join residents of 47 other states in the spring ritual of setting their clocks ahead one hour. Ten counties, five in the northwest section and five in the southwest, will stay aligned with Chicago thanks to a legislative exemption. The debate continues, however, whether 19 neighboring counties will observe Central instead of Eastern time.
The federal government is conducting hearings to determine the matter.
Yet DST remains controversial. Some observers say Democrats might introduce legislation to delay or reverse the new law, in the hopes that voters unhappy with clock-switching will punish Republicans at the polls.
Daniels believed the confusion over Indiana time-aligned with Chicago in the spring and summer and New York in the fall and winter-was an impediment to the state’s economic development. Indiana’s
technology contingent had long clamored for change, and had led the battle for five years to get legislators to adopt DST. Dozens of businesses and their lobbying groups backed the bill, saying ignoring DST caused mix-ups over airline flights, delivery times and conference calls.
Efforts to adopt DST had failed more than two dozen times since most of the state’s 92 counties opted out of it under state and federal legislation passed in the early 1970s.