The Decades-Old Indiana Time Zone Debate: Is Indianapolis Indiana on Central Time?

Indiana is officially in the Central Time Zone, but some communities choose to follow the Eastern Time Zone schedule throughout the year. In 1949, the Indiana Senate passed a bill that would keep the state in Central Time and prohibit Daylight Saving Time. However, the law had no enforcement power and communities that wanted to observe Eastern Standard Time largely ignored it. The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation 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.

In 1961, the Indiana legislature repealed the 1957 law that made Central Time official Indiana time, allowing any community to observe Daylight Saving Time. The Interstate Trade Commission divided Indiana between the Central Time Zone and the Eastern Time Zone. In 1972, the Indiana General Assembly overturned a veto by Governor Whitcomb to place the northwest and southwest corners of Indiana in the Central Time Zone during Daylight Saving Time and placing the rest of the state at Eastern Standard Time, subject to federal approval. Several counties in eastern Indiana (Ohio and Dearborn Counties, near Cincinnati; and Floyd, Clark and Harrison Counties, near Louisville) chose to unofficially observe Daylight Saving Time, despite Indiana law.

Attitudes began to change in the 1990s when Indiana's intricate time zone situation was considered to be impeding the state's economic growth. Starke County requested the USDOT to move it from the Central Time Zone to the Eastern Time Zone for the third time in 1991 and this request was granted. A request from Perry County to move to the Eastern time zone was denied. The decades-old debate over Indiana's time zone remains controversial today.

Some argue that the entire state should switch to Central Time while others would prefer that the state not observe Daylight Saving Time again. Those who oppose putting the entire state in one time zone often cite out-of-state cities as their reason for opposition. No matter what side of this debate you are on, it is clear that Indiana's time zone situation is complex and has been a source of confusion for many years. It is important for residents of Indiana to be aware of their local time zone so they can plan their activities accordingly.

Rickie Koning
Rickie Koning

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