Rep. Shannon Roers Jones: I’m Introducing Legislation to End North Dakota’s Blue Laws


Patrons browse stores at West Acres Shopping Center Tuesday morning in Fargo - a location that's representative of the state's measurable growth in taxable sales, especially in the retail sector, during early 2010, North Dakota Tax Commissioner Cory Fong said. Kristen M. Daum / The Forum

North Dakotans have been waiting impatiently for many years for the state legislature repeal our Blue Laws. As the only remaining state in the union which still dictates to certain businesses that they must remain closed until noon on Sundays, it is time to repeal that law. I’ve submitted the bill to make sure we accomplish this goal during the 2019 legislative session.

While many North Dakotan are deeply committed to their religious beliefs, their ability to practice their religion is not limited, in any way, by a retailer’s ability to sell clothing on a Sunday before noon. Just as deeply ingrained in our North Dakotan psyche are the ideas of personal responsibility and the right to be free from unnecessary government intrusion.

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]North Dakota citizens should have the right to work on whatever day, and at whatever time works best for their particular circumstance.[/mks_pullquote]

North Dakota businesses owners should have the right to operate their businesses at whatever hours will make their businesses the most profitable, if that is their choice. There are many businesses that choose to be closed on certain days to support their employees. Whether that day happens to fall on a Sunday, or a Monday, should be up to each individual business owner to decide on behalf of their employees.

North Dakota citizens should have the right to work on whatever day, and at whatever time works best for their particular circumstance. If religious practice is important to an individual, that person will find the time in their week for religion, whether it’s on a Wednesday, a Saturday, a Sunday, or on their own time throughout the week. We don’t need the State of North Dakota prescribing the appropriate date and time for religious practice. If there are North Dakotans who would love to earn a little extra money by working on Sunday morning, or perhaps they need that extra income to support their families, who are we to prevent them from earning a wage, because that might happen to be the time that we prefer to go to church?

North Dakotans should have the right to shop on whichever day works best for their schedule. Our citizens have busy, complex schedules; while Saturday afternoon may be the best time for you to find new shoes for your kids my Saturday full of choir, swim meets, and legislative events may make it impossible for me to get to the store until Sunday. We hear local businesses’ concerns about ongoing business loses to internet retailers, yet we are hindering their ability to choose the most profitable times for their business to be open.

I am raising this issue now because we have an opportunity. The initiated measure that was being circulated has been abandoned, and we have legislative elections in all of the odd-numbered districts this fall. You have the opportunity now to ask your candidates, and your legislators if they will vote in favor of personal responsibility and decreased government interference with business-owner’s rights to manage their business.

You have the opportunity to ask your representatives to support my bill to repeal the blue laws.