Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Campaign touts daylight time for Indiana

The Associated Press

        INDIANAPOLIS — A consortium of high-tech company executives is running a radio ad campaign designed to drum up public pressure on state lawmakers to enact daylight-saving time this session.

        TechNet Indiana, part of the Hoosier Daylight Coalition, began airing the commercials on about 20 radio stations around the state last week. The spots urge adoption of daylight time and direct listeners to the coalition's Web site (www.hoosierdaylight.com), where they can send e-mails to lawmakers.

        The ads are being paid for by TechNet Indiana's political action committee.

        But it's still not certain legislation that would make the change will even get a committee hearing. No bills seeking the change have been filed in the Senate.

        Democratic Rep. Robert Kuzman of Crown Point, chairman of the House Public Policy Committee, said he plans to decide this week whether to give a bill by Rep. R. Tiny Adams, D-Muncie, a hearing. Mr. Kuzman acknowledged that he is not a proponent of the bill.

        It would make the vast majority of the state in the Eastern Time Zone observe daylight time in the spring and summer. Mr. Kuzman is from Lake County, which is in the Central Time Zone and already observes the time change.

        “In my county, it (the bill) doesn't do anything,” Mr. Kuzman said. “I'd rather see us all go on Central Time rather than anything else, and Congress has to do that for us.”

        Legislative efforts to en act daylight time have failed numerous times over the past three decades, and because of that, some lawmakers are wary of even discussing the issue.

        But the Hoosier Daylight Coalition, which includes educators, parents and recreation advocates, has put on a concerted lobbying effort this session.

        Among other things, the group says daylight time would help boost commerce by eliminating confusion about Indiana's time.

        Mr. Adams noted that Gov. Frank O'Bannon supports the change, and even mentioned it in his State of the State speech earlier this month. Mr. Adams also said the bill is supported by several House members.

        “I believe Rep. Kuzman will understand what I'm trying to do with that bill — move Indiana forward — and do the right thing,” Mr. Adams said.

        Brian Williams, executive director of TechNet Indiana, said a recent poll indicates that a majority of Hoosiers — when told of both the pros and cons of daylight time — support the change. But he said those who oppose it are very adamant about it.

        That's one of the reasons for the ad campaign, he said.

        “We are of the perspective that those who do support it often are not informed that the debate is ongoing and they have an opportunity to make their voices heard,” Mr. Williams said.

        The ads say daylight time will strengthen Indiana's economy, save tax dollars and create jobs, “just like it does now in 47 other states.”

        Mr. Williams said he hoped Mr. Kuzman “will give it a fair hearing in committee.”


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