Blue Law Future Looking Blue

North Dakota’s blue laws may be on their way out the door.

The North Dakota House of Representatives voted 48-46 in favor of house bill 1163. H.B. 1163 is a bill in which, if passed, would repeal Chapter 12.1-30 of the North Dakota Century Code. The chapter is also known as the blue law.

Chapter 12.30-1 prohibits anyone to “engage in or conduct business or labor for profit in the usual manner and location” between midnight and noon on Sundays in North Dakota.

Establishments that sell items such as clothing, kitchenware, cameras, televisions, musical instruments, furniture, jewelry, building supplies and toys would be subject to be in accordance with the Sunday blue law.

Failure to abide by the bill is considered a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and fines reaching up to $1,000.

Some businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, public transportation, zoos, museums, service organizations and hospitals, are exempt from needing to abide by the law as they provide a crucial public service.

Another exemption to the Sunday blue law is if anyone, in good faith, observes a day other than Sunday as the Sabbath and thus follows the blue law on that day of the week.

“(The bill) doesn’t really affect me as I do not buy jewelry on Sunday mornings,” NDSU student Brandon Loch said.

Loch said if the bill passes he would still “try to take off Sunday mornings in order to attend church”, but said businesses should have the right to decided their own operating hours freely.

Representative Pamela Anderson (D-Fargo) said to the Bismarck Tribune, “Many people have limited time to get their errands and shopping done over the weekend, and allowing retailers to open for business before noon on Sunday is an important step to strengthen North Dakota’s retail sector and overall economy.”

Hannah Konrad, a senior studying political science, said “Early Sunday mornings are sometimes my only time to get something from the store before I have to go to work at noon.” She added the law “doesn’t even cover many industries as many people work in the restaurant and hospital industry anyways.”

Residence Hall Association president Bruno Lozano, said the blue law monthly business quotas and that bill’s existence is an “inconvenience more than importance.”

Some students, such as Cadyn Hunter, a freshman studying business administration, felt the Sunday blue law bill “never truly affected me, it has never… been an issue, there isn’t anything that is crucial for me to buy before noon on Sunday.”

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