WASHINGTON, Ind. (WTHI) - A Hoosier lawmaker is proposing a time change and he says the move would help keep your children safe.
State Senator Eric Bassler is working on a resolution that would put all of the state in the central time zone. Right now the state is divided with some areas in the central time zone and more in the eastern time zone.
Senator Bassler is from Washington, Indiana and represents District 39. Folks in his district know you can travel an hour north or south and still be in Indiana but in different time zones. Bassler says it’s time for a change.
"Just from kind of a practical perspective, if we were to divide the continental U.S. up into four time zones Indiana would fall into the central time zone, not the eastern time zone."
Bassler says there is an added benefit to the move: student safety.
"We have literally thousands of children standing on dark street corners, dark highways, dark country roads waiting for a school bus to come to pick them up. If it was daylight or even if it was somewhat daylight, if the sun was coming up, it would be a lot more obvious to cars and trucks that are approaching those students that they would see them on the roads and they would, therefore, know that they need to be slowing down because there are children around."
Washington residents Carrie Grubbs and Chelsey Heuser say they do not have a preference on what time zone Indiana falls but agree they want the whole state to be the same. They say improving safety for students using the bus is a bonus.
Chelsey Heuser says, "With the kids getting on as early as they do there could be oncoming traffic that may not see the children and they could possibly get hit. Even though they see that bus they may not see that stop sign pull out from the bus. They could get hurt."
Bassler says he has heard from people for and against the idea but adds many are open to at least discussing the proposal.
"Will it pass this very first time? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. But, we'll give it a shot and if it doesn't pass this time then we'll pursue it in the future."
Bassler says he is hopeful the resolution will, at the very least, get a committee hearing. If it passes out of committee the full Senate can discuss the legislation.
Bassler explains that if the resolution passes through the house and senate and goes to the governor’s desk, Governor Eric Holcomb would have to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation. The department would have to make a determination on whether or not to allow the change in time zones.
Another state senator proposed legislation last year that would allow for a study committee to look into a change to central time but it died after making it out of committee, according to Bassler.
Senator Bassler says he plans to officially file the legislation by the end of the year.
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