Ken de la Bastide: It’s time to end annual DST debate

It happens twice a year in Indiana: the great debate on whether the state should observe daylight saving time, which took effect Sunday when our clocks moved ahead one hour.

When I first moved to the Hoosier State in the 1970s, most of the state was on Central Standard Time, which meant our clocks were aligned with those in Chicago.

At the urging of business leaders who contended it was a disadvantage when dealing with the financial markets on the East Coast, most of Indiana was moved to Eastern Standard Time.

There were some advantages to being on Central Standard Time. The newscasts started at 10 p.m., and prime time shows started at 7 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.

Former Gov. Mitch Daniels pushed for the state to adopt daylight saving time and that took effect for the entire state in 2006.

People either loved or hated the idea, and for the past 17 years, the merits and drawbacks have been debated.

Currently, legislation is being considered in Congress to allow states to make daylight savings time permanent.

The contention has always been that it provides additional sunlight in the winter months.

Legislation in the U.S. House gained momentum in 2022 and there is an even stronger push this year to make the moving ahead and moving back the clocks by one hour a thing of the past.

With all the pressing issues facing the country — like immigration, the cost of health care and the national debt — lawmakers worried about daylight saving time seems frivolous at best.

Can you imagine the confusion that will take place on a national level when some states adopt daylight saving time on a permanent basis and some states continue with the traditional method?

Traveling from state to state will require people to be aware of what time it is in neighboring states.

What would be the result in Indiana, where some counties remain on Central Standard Time and others are on Eastern Standard Time?

Will those counties want to follow decisions made by neighboring states like Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio?

Most people want a decision made one way or the other. It’s time to end the biannual discussion.

Ken de la Bastide is a senior reporter and columnist for The (Anderson) Herald Bulletin. This column was shared with Indiana newspapers through Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to [email protected]