Sunday Blue Law One Step Closer to Being a Thing of the Past

One day after voting down a bill to kill North Dakota's Blue Laws, the House reconsidered and passed the bill

The Sunday morning Blue Laws are one step closer to being a thing of the past in North Dakota.

The bill will move to the senate where there is strong support on both sides of the isle.

Some local city officials believe the Blue Laws hurt the competitive edge of some Fargo businesses.

“Those sales and those sales tax dollars would be going over to Moorhead,” said Fargo City Planning Director, Jim Gilmour.

State Senator Jonathan Casper from Fargo said he believes that holds true for most North Dakota border cities.

“They’re in a different playing field than their competitors that are in the same market because of the border situation,” he said.

Jim Roers, another State Senator from Fargo, said he doesn’t see it that way.

“Some of the business people that we talked to said really by being open those couple more hours on Sunday, costs them more than they actually make,” he said.

Fargo City Auditor Steve Sprague said he could see that issue holding a heavy importance with some here in our community.

“You know we’re kind of a traditional state so you know, I don’t know that there’s anything wrong with saying that you just have to wait until noon to do your shopping or whatever,” he said.

Roers is also worried businesses might end up with no choice but to open early on Sundays.

“Competition will drive the need for businesses to be open on Sunday just to compete with their competition,” he explained.

Some Fargo city officials dispute that claim, pointing out that as is stands right now businesses are allowed to be open on Sundays, yet many businesses downtown choose to remain closed.

“Individuals are the ones who choose to decide what day to worship or if they should or shouldn’t and the government basically shouldn’t have a place in saying businesses have to be closed so this person can go worship,” said Fargo City Commissioner, Tony Gehrig.

The senators said they expect this issue to be debated thoroughly when it’s introduced in the senate.

They said they don’t anticipate a vote to be held on the bill until late February or early March.

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