A frustrated Alan Stenejhem, a Wahpeton Democrat, declared repeal opponents were fighting a losing battle. In , a group of businesses fed up with waiting for the Legislature sued to have the law overturned. One small-town newspaper publisher, offended by the perceived encroachment on rural businesses, proposed a boycott of the GDNA in response. The lawsuit failed, like others before it, but not without a strange twist in the final ruling: Stores could open on Sundays, the state Supreme Court said - they just couldn't sell any banned items.
Most food was permitted; most dry goods weren't; confusion reigned. Meanwhile, frustrated business started looking for loopholes. Even the city of Fargo spent a good deal of time exploring an exemption that might allow Sunday openings during festivals, going so far as to declare "festivals" for events like Canada's Dominion Day and the entire month of July before drawing a rebuke from state prosecutors.
By , those efforts were moot: Spurred by public sentiment and media attention The Forum published no fewer than 20 editorials on the subject in the 25 months that preceded repeal , the Legislature finally came around. On Feb. The following week, the House followed suit , and Gov. George Sinner signed the repeal into law. The overwhelming support for the bill - critical because a two-thirds majority prevented opponents from suspending the law with a petition to refer it to voters - prompted Fargo Democrat John Schneider to channel his inner T. Eliot and muse: "Like all momentous things that the Legislature decides after decades of discussion, it does not pass with a bang but more with a whimper.
In a less poetic episode, Rick Berg then a West Fargo legislator, now a Republican congressman , in his "enthusiasm to see the vote" on the bill, failed to record his vote for repeal, instead pressing the button that summoned a page. West Acres chief executive Brad Schlossman remembers helping his father, William, make the case for repeal. He remembers emotions running high and the increasingly confounding judicial rulings - "You can buy all the food you want but you can't buy tinfoil," as he puts it.
Mostly, he says, "I remember just how long it took. It's easy to forget now that we've been operating this way for 20 years. Schlossman said it probably makes sense to revisit the remaining restrictions of the law but added that further repeal wouldn't change much at West Acres: "If it were unrestricted, we may open at 11 a. Indeed, further easing Sunday restrictions remains on the legislative agenda of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce.
Andy Peterson, the Chamber's president, said the group favors loosening Sunday hours "for businesses that choose to open.
He said the Chamber isn't looking to change car shopping or liquor laws, which still carry Sunday restrictions. Jeff Delzer, an Underwood state congressman who was a rookie legislator in , is one of four current lawmakers who voted against repeal. He says he did so because his constituents objected to Sunday opening for social and religious reasons. It's hard to pin down the precise impact of repeal. Taxable sales in the first quarter of were up 8 percent statewide over the first quarter of the year before - a gain that would translate to perhaps.
Schlossman said Sunday isn't the most important day at West Acres, "but it's a very productive day. It's hard to make the case that repeal destroyed family and church life in the dramatic fashion opponents suggested it would. But former governor Sinner - still a Sunday shopping advocate - cautioned that it's too early to gauge the full impact of repeal.
And Chester Reiten, the former legislator who fought tooth and nail to keep stores closed on Sundays, says he believes the change has hastened a migration to urban areas and the demise of small rural towns. Blue laws are state or local laws that prohibit commercial activity on Sundays. They date back to colonial times and originally were directed at activities regarded as moral offenses, such as gambling or the consumption of alcohol. It was the 19th century when state and local governments passed laws that forbade businesses from operating on Sunday as well, according to West's Encyclopedia of American Law.
And though these laws were based on Christian beliefs, the U. Many blue laws have been repealed since the s, but some laws that ban the sale of alcohol on Sunday remain. There are also some businesses that still chose to close on Sundays or limit hours.
One theory holds that it came from the color of the garments of the working class, which the laws were designed in part to protect. Other theories on the use of the word "blue" range from the blue skies, which people would enjoy if they spent the day relaxing, to the claim that the original blue law pamphlets were printed on blue paper. Blue paper would have been a luxury item in the 17th century.
Some even suggest that the term "blue" was used as an insult against extreme moralists and politicians, much like our present day description of snobbish people as bluebloods. The extended tax return due date is October 15, Please be aware that North Dakota will not accept the federal extension form as an extension for your North Dakota tax return.
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Repeal of longstanding N.D. Sunday shopping ban nearly two decades past | Grand Forks Herald
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