Should Stores Be Allowed To Open Earlier On Sunday? - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Should Stores Be Allowed To Open Earlier On Sunday?

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Should North Dakota stores be open before noon on Sunday? That's the debate in the North Dakota legislature today.

North Dakota lawmakers are looking at altering the state's Blue Law.

That's the law that restricts Sunday opening.

In 1991, legislators approved to lessen the blue law to allow most businesses to open at noon on Sunday.

Before that -- stores were banned from doing business on the holy day.

Donnell Preskey has more on the attempt to make shopping on Sunday more of an option.

<<Two North Dakota lawmakers say businesses should decide if they want to be open early on Sunday, not the state.

Representative Rick Becker proposes altering the state's blue law, allowing stores to be open before noon.

Becker : local control, allow local political subdivisions decide.

Representative Thomas Beadle of Fargo says malls in Fargo and Grand Forks support the change...

Beadle" it's not a drastic change they are seeking. It may be an hour earlier to allow people to stop by after done with church. Gives them the option of earlier if during the Christmas season they want to be open for sales."

For Cracker Barrel this bill is a big deal.

Martinson: they have a retail store in front of Bismarck location, restaurant open. You walk through the retail store. It's a point of frustration for them, they get a lot of Sunday morning retail traffic and they can't sell anything out of the store until noon.

Mike Rud represents 400 retail businesses.

He says a majority of them do not support opening earlier.

Rud: There's a thread of consistency that runs throughout the retail sector, that no matter how hectic Sunday mornings have become for many of us, that Sunday's are still viewed as family time for many of North Dakotan's.

Rud says businesses wonder if there would be enough business to support opening their doors before noon.

And he says finding a workforce on Sunday is also a concern.

Rud: huge issue is finding help on weekends. Most guys have to pay $2-3 more for help on weekends."

Family and religious representatives argue it goes beyond logistics...

Dobson: "The purpose of Sunday closing laws is not to dictate how you spend that time, it's to allow a respite time of commerce. Because communities need rest, not just on the individual."

If approved, this would be the first change to the Blue law in 20 years.

The proposal would not effect businesses that currently are not allowed to be open on Sundays like car dealerships.

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