The state of Indiana is divided between eastern and central time zones. 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 themselves with the Eastern time zone. Some counties near the state's southwest and northwest border use central time, which changes between Central Standard Time (CST) and Central Summer Time (CDT).
In 1949, the Indiana Senate quietly passed a bill that would keep the state in central time and prohibit daylight saving time. When the bill reaches the House of Representatives, there is chaos in the plenary, as legislators who represent cities (who generally favor fast time) fight against legislators in agricultural areas (where changing the clock is considered unnatural and unhealthy for cows). Some communities and cities may choose not to observe these official time zones and this site does not reflect all of those variations. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Brian Bosma, and other key legislative leaders also supported the change, but many legislators strongly opposed it, particularly those in western counties near the border with central time.
But travelers who change trains discover that each railroad adjusts its clocks differently, and those schedules don't match the city's clocks. The General Assembly repeals the unpopular law of 1957, but does not attempt to replace it, but is limited to a new ruling by the Interstate Commerce Commission that moves the boundary between the eastern and central time zones of the border between the state of Indiana and Ohio to the center of the state. In 1883, major railroads agreed to coordinate their clocks and begin operating on standard time with four established time zones across the country. The only clear consensus that emerges is that most oppose the double time that would result from being in Eastern Standard Time and changing to Eastern Daylight Saving Time.
The Department of Transportation is proposing a commitment that most of Indiana would be in Eastern Standard Time all year round, while the Gary and Evansville areas would remain in Central Time and would follow daylight saving time in summer. Whitcomb says the bill would cause Indiana's times to conflict with those of neighboring states, but is accused of siding with the television broadcast lobby (which wants program schedules to fit those on the East Coast). In 1961, the Interstate Trade Commission divided the state into Eastern and Central Time, but the new time zone line was not consistently observed. Mitch Daniels included daylight saving time as part of his economic plan, arguing that Indiana time was bad for the state's economy because companies outside the state couldn't keep track of the time in Indiana.
The law also introduces daylight saving time, a concept first promoted by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, but which was not widely implemented until European countries adopted it during the First World War to conserve fuel used for lighting.