Saturday, April 3, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The governor has given his position on the issue. So have the other two candidates seeking the state’s highest office.

Though it isn’t as pressing as other election-year topics, such as jobs, schools and budget deficits, the perennial question of whether all of Indiana should observe daylight-saving time has candidates trying to devise a solution for what has been a complex clock-setting situation.

For more than three decades, people in some parts of Indiana set their clocks ahead one hour during DST, but most do not. It is an almost-comical part of Hoosier lore, debated each year in the legislature, in offices, in bars and on talk radio.

Some say the existing system hurts the state’s image and stunts commerce. Others, such as former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg, scoff at such claims.

“It’s still 24 hours,” said Mr. Gregg, who dealt with the issue often in his 16 years in office until he retired in 2002. “If you want more daylight, get up earlier.”

It’s not just whether all of Indiana should be on DST. Should it be on New York time or Chicago time?

The candidates for governor have touched on the issue, with some waffling.

Former White House Budget Director Mitch Daniels, considered the leading Republican candidate, favors statewide observance of DST, with “as much of the state as possible” in the Central time zone.

Gov. Joe Kernan, a Democrat, backs DST, but he has not specified a time zone. However, Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis — his running mate — says Central time is probably the best fit.

Republican Eric Miller wants to put the question to a vote of the people, even though the state constitution does not include a mechanism for such ballot initiatives.

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