Want To Shop Early on Sundays? The Vote May Soon Be in Your Hands

A Fargo man is working toward putting the blue law on the ballot

NORTH DAKOTA — Lawmakers denied the possibility of retail stores opening before noon on Sundays, but a local business owner isn’t giving up.

A Fargo man said he is hoping to put a similar measure on an upcoming ballot.

“Now that the bill is dead, we hope to put this exact issue to the voters,” said Brandon Medenwald, with North Dakota Open On Sundays.

Medenwald is also a co-founder  of a software business in town.

He said he needs 13,452 signatures for a petition to get a measure on the ballot.

“Changing the law wouldn’t bother me, one way or the other,” said Greg Danz, the owner of  Zandbroz Variety.

Lifting the blue law and allowing North Dakota stores to open before noon on Sundays is Medenwald’s mission.

“Once the petition is approved, then we will gather our signatures,” he said.

Freedom is what Medenwald said his mission is all about and he believes in it so much he wants to put the decision in your hands.

“I believe that it’s just a matter of fairness,” he said. “As a private business owner, you should be able to choose if you want to open.”

Medenwald is working on a proposal that looks similar to the failed bill that would allow retailers to open their doors earlier.

“Craft our message and send it over to the secretary of state’s office,” he said. “Then, have them go ahead and approve it so we can have the voters decide.”

Some businesses we spoke to said they’d welcome the change, but not all shared they would take part.

“We would keep our same Sunday hours, noon to five and for us that’s plenty of Sunday,” said Danz.

“The beauty of this measure is that this would still allow for that exact thing to happen,” countered Medenwald.

He said since the bill failed in Bismarck, he’s been hearing from business owners who said they support his effort.

“Hopefully, within the next month or so, you’ll see us on the street corners,” Medenwald said. “You’ll see us out and about with our clipboards and our signs, hopefully gathering the 13,000 signatures we will need.”

Medenwald said if the petition makes it to the ballot, he suspects it will be a tough fight to win over votes.

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