I forget if I’ve seen this before or not. But, posted to the docket is a letter from the USDOT to the attorneys for the Southwestern Counties petitioning to be moved to the Eastern Time Zone. If I had seen it, I hadn’t read it in great detail. It looks like the USDOT is doing far more homework on this request than on the original round of requests. And, it appears to be fact checking. For example, where the USDOT was provided with apparently erroneous information about a Jasper, IN Wal-Mart hours and they want the Petitioning Counties to verify the hours and give them the name of the person they’re using for a source. Throughout, the USDOT seems very interested in getting names and contact information for the sources of information. There is another passage where the USDOT points out that the data cited for employees commuting to and from the petitioning area do not support the petition’s assertion that these figures support a shift from Central to Eastern.
The USDOT time zone docket has a couple of interesting recent entries. First is a response from the USDOT to an inquiry from Sen. Bayh with respect to a constituent complaint that the USDOT had not yet acted on the Southwestern Counties’ petition. The response is pretty vague, but essentially it tells the Senator that the process is moving along. They say they are reviewing the Southwestern Counties’ petition. If they find that not enough justification has been provided, the petition will be denied. If enough justification has been provided, the USDOT will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking, a 30 – 60 day comment period will follow before a final decision either issuing a rule changing the time zone or denying the petition.
The other is a letter from state Representative Dave Crooks reporting his unscientific legislative survey showing that 66% of respondents would prefer Eastern Time for all of Indiana versus 32% for Central. He further indicates his support for granting the Southwestern Counties’ request to be moved to the Eastern time zone.
The Perry County Commissioners had a fairly contentious meeting on the subject of time zones according to the Perry County News. Last month, the Perry County commissioners decided to petition to move from Central to Eastern time. Apparently this caught some folks by surprise. Among other things, opponents to this move think a lot of ordinary citizens support the petition because they simply don’t understand it. Apparently a fair number of Perry County citizens think the commissioners are attempting to return to not observing Daylight Saving Time. They think they’ll be able to go back to the way it was and not have to adjust their clocks.
I have a Google News search set up to look for “Indiana ‘Daylight Saving'”. I was amused by the first two headlines in that section today:
It’s time to solve Indiana’s problem with time
Evansville Courier & Press
It’s past time to stop fretting about DST
South Bend Tribune
The South Bend Tribune entry is a letter to the editor from a citizen who thinks that there are so many other more important things to worry about so “Why can’t the people of South Bend and surrounding areas let it go and put energy into real problems that have a negative effect on our world?” One might have asked the same question of the DST proponents who labored for decades to get rid of year round standard time.
The Evansville Courier Press column by John Gottcent suggests that the question of what time it is in Indiana was “greatly simplified” through last year’s implementation of Daylight Saving Time. He laments the fact that a time conscious driver, going from Evansville to Chicago, would have to change his or her watch at least twice. He also likens the flip-flopping time zone counties to “spoiled children” who first want one thing, and then another. The solution? Everybody on Central Time, just like Mitch Daniels proposed when he was running for Governor.
The Indiana Law Blog has a post entitled Florida story on southern Indiana lawyer’s battle with Indiana clocks. The ILB cites an article in the Palm Beach Post.
As many of you probably recall, prior to the recent DST unpleasantness, pockets of southern Indiana near Cincinnati and Louisville observed Daylight Saving Time illegally. The Palm Beach Post story tells the story of New Albany lawyer, Steven Gustafson who attempted to compel the Secretary of Transportation to enforce the law.
He filed a petition in U.S. District Court to force the secretary of transportation, the federal government’s person in charge of time-change rules, to put everyone in southern Indiana on the same schedule. A year later, Gustafson’s complaint was thrown out.
“The federal court ruled that I was right on the statutes, but that having to sit around for an hour waiting for people did not give me standing to make the secretary of transportation enforce the law,” he said.
A few years after that, all of Indiana went on daylight-saving time, so “the things I was talking about are essentially moot now,” said Gustafson, who nonetheless still hates the time change.
“As far as I’m concerned, the time of day is an astronomical fact that should be immune from government tinkering,” he said.
Given the benign neglect showed to southern Indiana by the Secretary of Transportation when they opted to break the time law, seems like the folks in Pulaski County ought to be a little grumpy with the zealousness with which the USDOT seemed intent on enforcing the time law as it applied to Pulaski County. The USDOT pressured the Pulaski County Commissioners to accept Central Time. One USDOT official was quoted as saying, “We donâ€™t have the authority to look the other way. In the â€™60s the department did so, was sued and lost.”
The Perry County News is reporting that:
Perry County commissioners are asking the federal Department of Transportation to return the county to Eastern time if five other counties making the same request are successful.
Expressing frustration about the other countiesâ€™ reversal even before experiencing the effect of daylight-saving time, they approved unanimously a resolution to that effect in a regular meeting Monday.
I imagine the Governor was probably hoping that the time zone dust would’ve completely settled long before November 2008.
Rising energy prices and environmental concerns are driving countries to consider extending Daylight Saving Time (DST) in order to conserve energy. Beginning in 2007, the U.S. will lengthen DST by one month with the specific goal of reducing electricity consumption by 1%. In this paper we question the findings of prior DST studies, which often rely on simulation models and extrapolation rather than empirical evidence. By contrast, our research exploits a quasi-experiment*, in which parts of Australia extended DST by two months to facilitate the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. Using detailed panel data on half-hourly electricity consumption, prices, and weather conditions, we show that the extension failed to reduce electricity demand. We further examine prior DST studies and find that the most sophisticated simulation model available in the literature significantly overstates electricity savings when it is applied to the Australian data. These results suggest that current plans and proposals to extend DST will fail to conserve energy.
So, we’re back on Daylight Saving Time already. As it turns out, one can oppose DST and not, surprisingly, be too dumb to set one’s clocks. From reading some of our leading columnists over the years, I had come across the impression that clock-o-phobia is the only plausible reason for opposing Daylight Saving Time.
This has been bandied about before, but with less and less of the year spent on “Standard” time, what’s the argument for switching to “Standard” time for the months of November, December, January, and February? If it’s o.k. to have sunrise not occur until 8 a.m., why not 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.? Think of all the “extra” hours of light. In the course of the DST debate, I don’t believe I’ve once heard the Indy Star or the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette or any of the other proponents of Eastern Daylight Time discuss the “extra” hour of darkness in the morning. That leads me to believe it’s not relevant to the debate.
I have to say that today it wasn’t a consideration. My lovely wife got up with the kids, and I slept in until 8:45 a.m. (EDT). I woke up to a bright sun-shiny morning. But, I’m going to hazard a guess that this will not be an option during the week — the courts and my clients likely won’t be quite so accommodating.
I think the best situation for Indiana would be if the entire nation went on year round Daylight Saving Time, and we switched the whole state to be on year round Central Daylight Time (which would look an awful lot like year round Eastern Standard Time.)
The Governor has, by fiat apparently, mandated that bars can stay open past the time designated by the legislature:
Indiana Bars Won’t Lose Hour of Business to DST.
I don’t really mind bars getting to stay open later, but I’d sure like to know where the Governor gets the authority to tell bar owners that they can stay open past 3 a.m. (When Daylight Saving Time strikes, it will automagically advance the time from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. — meaning bars should close, per Indiana law. But, the Governor is apparently “decreed” that bar owners can stay open until 4 a.m. or that, in their bars Daylight Saving Time can be ignored for an hour, or something.) No executive order has issued, incidentally.
This might also be a good place to mention that, with Daylight Saving Time being imposed weeks earlier than it was last year, sunrise will not take place until about 8:10 a.m.
I certainly missed the boat on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making for moving Pulaski County back to Eastern Time, though searching my blog, I see that several commenters were on it. The NPRM for moving Pulaski back was opened on November 22, 2006.
The final rule was filed today. A turn around time of 76 days, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Super Bowl Sunday. Pretty efficient.
Effective March 11, 2007, Pulaski County will jump two hours from Central Standard Time to Eastern Daylight Time.