Daviess, Dubois, Knox, Martin, and Pike Counties have filed a petition (pdf) with the United States Department of Transportation to move from the Central Time Zone into the Eastern Time Zone. Pulaski has also apparently filed a petition separately from the southwestern counties.
Governor Daniels has written a letter (pdf) supporting the joint petition. The letter contains a few whoppers worth noting:
For the vast majority of the 76 Indiana counties that joined the world of Daylight Saving Time, the selection of time zone was not difficult.
Well, no it wasn’t. Because nobody bothered to ask them. How many counties even had their commissioners take up the issue? I’ll bet considerably less than half.
The law passed in 2005 that put Indiana on DST also specifically encouraged each individual county to assert its own view on the choice of time zone, and bound the state to support that view.
Yes and no. SEA 127-2005 specifically directed the Governor to provide the USDOT with any documentation necessary to have the USDOT initiate hearings on the proper boundary between the Eastern and Central Time Zones. He did not provide any documentation to the USDOT with respect to the convenience of commerce in the state. He did nothing more than provide the USDOT with a copy of the legislation. Gov. Daniels is, however, correct that the State was bound to support any county that petitioned for a change in time zone. He actively chose to break that law by requesting the Secretary of Transportation to reject the request of the Commissioners of St. Joseph County. At the time, he put forth some disingenuous nonsense about how the legislation required him only to support the process by which the Commissioners reached a determination, not the decision itself. Now that it suits him, he acknowledges that the state is bound to support the choice of the County Commissioners.
As governor, my longstanding position has been that local preference should be respected as much as possible.
Nothing about the Governor’s many, many positions on time zones can be regarded as “long standing.” First Central Time was most desirable. Then, once he was elected, he seemed to have no position on time zones. Then he was in favor of state wide hearings. Then he was in favor of decision making by county commissioners. Then he didn’t favor the St. Joseph County Commissioners decisions. Then he favored the Southwestern region of Indiana around Evansville being on Central Time. Now he favors much of that region being on Eastern Time.
It is important to note that during the initial petition process, the counties in these affected regions were forced to make their petitions not knowing for certain which time zone their neighbor counties would land in.
That wasn’t a problem just for the affected regions. That was a problem everywhere. That is the main reason why a county-by-county solution is a Bad Idea.
Also, as Jim pointed out in the comments, the Governor’s current position is, surprise surprise, at odds with his past position with respect to southwestern Indiana. November 29, 2005 (pdf):
Second, in Southwest Indiana your proposed rule would divide a multi-county region that, through your public hearing process, has expressed a clear argument and desire to be placed together on Central time. The Department proposal correctly added three counties (Perry, Knox, and Pike) to the five existing Central Time Zone counties in Southwest Indiana. However, to fully preserve the unity of this region it is essential that you grant the petitions of the three remaining counties in this corner of the state (Daviess, Dubois, and Martin).
Contrast that with his August 14, 2006 position:
Daviess, Dubious [sic], Knox, Martin, and Pike Counties in Southwest Indiana belong in the Eastern Standard [sic] time zone.
(Governor, we all belong on Eastern Standard Time; which is where we were year round before you and Troy “I’ll never vote for it” Woodruff put us on Eastern Daylight Time.)
Below is a map showing the affected areas. My thanks to my wife, Amy, for touching up the map a bit. This is the 8th map iteration and frankly, the map was getting a little dog-eared with all the changes.