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Let business owners decide on Sunday closing law

The North Dakota Senate should pass House Bill 1163, which would repeal part of a chapter of state law that forbids certain retail businesses from opening before noon on Sundays. The state Legislature made changes to the state's so-called Sunday ...

  

The North Dakota Senate should pass House Bill 1163, which would repeal part of a chapter of state law that forbids certain retail businesses from opening before noon on Sundays.

The state Legislature made changes to the state’s so-called Sunday closing law in 1967, in 1991 and in 2016, but stopped short of getting rid of it.

Rep. Pamela Anderson, D-Fargo, the bill’s sponsor, said it best about why the change is needed in a Jan. 30 Forum News Service article: “You either have (a) free market or you don’t.” The story also reported that North Dakota is the only state in the United States that restricts retail stores from opening before noon on Sunday.

In today’s society, people work many different schedules. Mandating that some businesses be closed doesn’t mean people will be enjoying time at home, going to church or doing something else. It’s simply picking a day and time that some businesses can’t be open. Given that exemptions have been made for other businesses to be open, the law seems to have run its course and should be repealed.

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Repealing the law won’t mandate that businesses be open. But it will give business owners the option to open their doors if they want. That’s really what this is about: businesses deciding whether they should be open or not.

House Bill 1163 has been introduced in the Senate and will have a hearing at 9 a.m. Friday, March 3, before the Senate’s Political Subdivisions Committee. The North Dakota Senate should approve the bill, and Gov. Doug Burgum should sign it into law.

Editorials are the opinion of Jamestown Sun management and the newspaper’s editorial board.

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