North Dakota Lawmaker Proposes End to Blue Law

A Fargo lawmaker wants to do away with North Dakota’s Blue Law, or Sunday opening law.

Democratic Representative Pam Anderson says her bill will remove all state barriers to retail stores opening before noon on Sundays.

She says she introduced the bill on behalf of a constituent.

“Contacted me and said ‘I’m annoyed I have to drive Sunday morning for plumbing supplies to Moorhead can’t you fix this?’,” said Rep. Anderson.  “So I said sure.”

Anderson says getting rid of that prohibition is a good idea because you can shop on the Internet 24/7, and surrounding states don’t have that restriction.

History Behind North Dakota’s Blue Law

Blue laws are not restricted to only shopping.

In fact, many state’s blue laws differ between the no sale of alcohol on certain days to car dealerships are not allowed to be open for sales or service.

North Dakota, however, is one state that continues to have one of the strictest blue laws in the nation.

Before 1967, all businesses were closed from 12 a.m. Sunday to 12 a.m. Monday, regardless of whether they were open 24 hours or not.

But the law changed in 1967 after the blizzard of ’66 when more than 30 inches of snow was dumped on the area.

On March 2nd, 1966 snow began falling and didn’t stop for four days and 30 inches later.

People were unable to get to the store and buy supplies due to the blue law and lawmakers decided pharmacies, hospitals and restaurants along with hotels and transportation services would be exempt from the law.

In 1991, the law changed once again, allowing all retail businesses to open by noon on Sunday.

It has remained unchanged since.

KVRR Anchor and Producer TJ Nelson contributed to this story.

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