Cranky people wander through churches, diners and living rooms on Sunday mornings each March. All because an hour of their sleep time vanished into an alternate dimension through a ritual called "daylight saving time."

And they can't retrieve that lost hour until the first Sunday of the following November, like this Sunday.

What if Hoosiers didn't have to reset their clocks twice a year? No falling back on the first Sunday in November. No springing forward on the second Sunday in March. It could happen.

Just to clarify, such a change wouldn't be the result of Indiana's longstanding discomfort with the concept of daylight saving time. Instead, the change would be part of a national movement to make DST year-round, not just March through November. It's gaining traction elsewhere.

Indiana "has a particularly tortured history when it comes to DST," said Scott Yates, leader of the Lock The Clock movement and a startup entrepreneur from Denver.

Indeed, Indiana became one of the last to adopt DST in April 2006, thanks to the persuasion of former Gov. Mitch Daniels. That grueling conversion left only Hawaii and most of Arizona on standard time. Since then, Indiana residents have moved clocks one hour forward each March to experience an extra hour of sunlight each evening during spring, summer and early fall. Each November, Hoosiers turn back their clocks by an hour, and daylight saving time hibernates for four months. Hoosiers have adjusted, generally, though DST has its staunch critics.

By contrast, folks in 47 other states have been doing this for decades.

Of course, nothing magically occurs at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November, aside from the technological wonder of clocks on digital devices resetting themselves. For those of us who still have big-hand-little-hand clocks, flip-over-numerals bedside clocks or push-button oven clocks, we'll add our extra hour before hitting the sack Saturday night. After all, does anybody set a clock's alarm to awaken at 2 a.m. and then reset it?

At the end of the day (no pun intended), we humans can't add a nanosecond to our lives, the length of a day or the extent of sunlight through a clock change. We can, though, maximize the available sunshine by setting our clocks accordingly. At least, that's the theory.

Even though there's not as much daylight to save during the winter, Yates and supporters of Lock The Clock believe clocks shouldn't change in November and March. No resetting is necessary, they insist. Indiana did the same thing with standard time until 2006. Lock The Clock isn't advocating for all-standard time or all-daylight saving time (which shifts an hour of sunlight into the evening). Instead, the organization wants Congress to allow states to select a time zone and leave it.

"First, we should agree to 'Lock The Clock' and stop switching," Yates said Thursday in an email, "and then each state can have a conversation about what's best for that state, pick one time zone and stick with it."

Under the federal Uniform Time Act of 1966, states can opt out of DST (as Indiana once did) and observe standard time year-round, but those following DST must change their clocks each November and March. Florida's U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the Sunshine Protection Act last March to allow states to adopt permanent DST. Changing clocks, Rubio said, "no longer serves any purpose."

Rubio's bill claims year-round DST would reduce traffic accidents, heart attacks, robberies, obesity and energy usage, while boosting the farming and tourism industries and the economy overall.

Not everyone buys that argument. Year-round DST in Indiana would mean that sunrise wouldn't occur until 9 a.m. through much of December and January. Kids would stand at the school bus stop in darkness for months, which DST critics say increases the chances of accidents. Lock The Clock sees alternatives, such as a later start time for the school day.

State legislators in more than 30 states have introduced bills to adopt permanent DST or standard time. Legislatures in Oregon, Washington, California and Florida have approved year-round DST, though that step is only symbolic because Congress must OK such steps.

Indiana, so far, is on the fringe of the permanent DST movement. A bill to move Indiana to Central Daylight Time — the same as Illinois — fizzled in last winter's 2019 session of the General Assembly. If Indiana moved from Eastern Daylight Time to Central, year-round, the latest sunsets would happen around 8:20 p.m. in summer, rather than 9:20 as they do now under EDT.

Lock The Clock sees that as a separate debate from permanent daylight saving time. Whether Indiana picks Eastern or Central, Yates said the logical format is to leave it that way all year.

"Indiana is at heart a Midwestern state, so it makes lots of sense for it to be in the Central Time Zone," Yates said. "What doesn't make sense for Indiana, Illinois or any other state in the country is changing the clocks twice a year for no good reason."

Folks who agree might want to set their alarm clocks as a reminder to send their congressional reps and state legislators an email Sunday morning.
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