NDGOP Disappoints on Sunday Opening


The North Dakota House of Representatives defeated a bill on Wednesday, sponsored by Rep. Rick Becker of Bismarck, that would have empowered local governments to decide if allowing retail businesses to open on Sunday morning was the right thing for their community. The bill was HB 1437, and added the following key language to Century Code regarding retail operations on Sunday, sometimes referred to as “Blue Laws”:

“The sale or rental of items for which the governing body of a city or county, by ordinance or other special authorization, has specifically authorized the sale or rental to take place before twelve noon on Sunday.”

Opening times for retail has been a thorn in the side of the state for many years, and North Dakota is one of the last states to impose this degree of regulation on businesses. Becker did not go for a 100% repeal, but instead chose to allow local governments the opportunity to practice local control in 1437; an argument the Legislature has used before when deciding not to take action. Yet for some reason, on an issue where local control really should rest solely on the shoulders of a business owner versus state or local government bodies, the Legislature elected to sustain their practice of centralized economic planning when it comes to retail hours of operation.

Perhaps the greatest disappointment was the NDGOP, which proved once again they are the party of free market principles — except when they aren’t. The votes broke down as follows:

R- Anderson; Beadle; Becker; Boehning; Brabandt; Hawken; Johnson, N.; Keiser; Kreun; Louser; Maragos; Martinson; Nelson, J.; Streyle; Sukut; Thoreson

D- Boschee; Delmore; Gruchalla; Guggisberg; Haak; Hanson; Hogan; Kelsh, J.; Kelsh, S.; Mock; Mooney; Oversen; Strinden; Zaiser

R- Bellew; Belter; Brandenburg; Carlson; Damschen; Delzer; Dockter; Dosch; Drovdal; Frantsvog; Froseth; Grande; Hatlestad; Headland; Heilman; Heller; Hofstad; Johnson, D.; Karls; Kasper; Kempenich; Kiefert; Klein; Klemin; Koppelman, B.; Koppelman, K.; Kreidt; Kretschmar; Laning; Larson; Looysen; Meier; Monson; Nathe; Owens; Paur; Pollert; Porter; Rohr; Ruby; Rust; Sanford; Schatz; Schmidt; Silbernagel; Skarphol; Steiner; Toman; Trottier; Vigesaa; Wall; Weisz; Wieland; Speaker Devlin

D- Amerman; Glassheim; Holman; Hunskor; Muscha; Nelson, M.; Onstad; Williams

It’s pretty bad when a large percentage of the party of business and opportunity vote against letting businesses have the opportunity to open early if they feel it is the right decision for them. Some of the arguments presented in floor debate by representatives also made one scratch their head and wonder if they meant to go to a convention in Grand Forks last year, but accidentally showed up in Bismarck.

The floor debate went for close to 30 minutes, and presented some rather puzzling arguments against granting local control on Sunday opening.

Rep. Don Vigesaa argued leaving the law in place was important to protect businesses in rural communities (he happens to own one) from the malls in the larger ones, yet his counterpart from the right Rep. Chuck Damschen argued just previously that he wasn’t sure how being open just a few hours earlier would make any noticeable economic difference. House Majority Leader Al Carlson argued that there already is an employee shortage, so filling the extra hours would be problematic for some businesses. But, isn’t that a problem for a business that chooses to open early on Sundays to deal with, rather than state government? After all, you probably shouldn’t be in business if you try to open your store without enough staff to run it.

Rep. Kim Koppelman made the point that the bill would not change the hours for businesses such as car dealerships. What he failed to point out is current Blue Laws also allow some other types of businesses, such as restaurants and convenience stores, to be open early on Sundays. Is family time (a foundation of the argument against retail stores opening early on Sundays) not as important to the employees of those types of businesses? If we are going to forbid one type of business to open early on Sundays, shouldn’t they all be forbidden from doing so?

Businesses are smart enough to know when they should and should not be open. This is not a matter for the state or even local governments to decide. The NDGOP failed (again) to live up to the expectation that it was the party of free markets and freeing those markets of ridiculous regulation. Dictating Sunday hours of operation in 2013 is ridiculous regulation, and the 63rd Legislative Assembly missed their opportunity to fix that. The NDGOP also proved once again they have a foundation made of Jello when it comes to those free market principles.


LegitSlater is a SayAnythingBlog.com contributor who focuses on features primarily pertaining to state and local government as well as political parties, but has been known to dabble in other areas. LegitSlater has also been known to pinch hit for Rob when he is out and about in his worldly travels, or attending the occasional Yankees-Twins series. LegitSlater's numerous awards include the personal satisfaction received from informing the vast readership of SAB, spurring respectful debate, and hunting the trophy sacred cows which have been otherwise deemed off limits by the traditional media, elected officials, and the political parties.

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  • borborygmi

    Gosh darn those social conservatives in ND. Ya have to share the bed with them but sometimes they steal the covers,

    • $8194357

      Gosh darn those “liberal nanny statists”…
      Running the same game to a knew generation
      of know it all know nothings…

      “This year will go down in history.
      For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration.
      Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient,
      and the world will follow our lead into the future!”

      ~Adolph Hitler, 1935,
      on The Weapons Act of Nazi Germany

      • borborygmi

        not sure how you went from blue laws to Adolph Hitler but then you do have some peculiar fixations.

        • $8194357


          [ pi kylyər ]

          unusual: unusual, strange, or unconventional

          belonging exclusively to or identified distinctly
          with somebody or something

          Synonyms: odd, strange, weird, unusual, irregular, abnormal, uncharacteristic, atypical, curious, eccentric, unconventional

          My “peculiar” fixations?

          1 Peter 2:7-10
          New King James Version (NKJV)

          7 Therefore,
          to you who believe, He is precious;
          but to those who are disobedient,

          “The stone which the builders rejected
          Has become the chief cornerstone,”

          8 and

          “A stone of stumbling
          And a rock of offense.”

          They stumble, being disobedient to the word,
          to which they also were appointed.

          9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
          a holy nation, His own special people,
          that you may proclaim the praises of Him
          who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

          10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God,
          who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

      • borborygmi

        Oh you forgot the real reason Hitler came to power a rampant nationalism couple with inflammatory rhetoric about Germans losing jobs to inferior people. Lets see American Exceptionalism couple with Conservative rants about illegals taking their jobs (which no one else will work). I guess there are some similarities.

        • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

          Hitler, OG Teabagger?

        • $8194357

          Oh, and “you” forgot his hatred of Christians and Jews and his loving up to Egyptian Mullahs didn’t you. He took his “nationalism” global with muslim help and a 1000 year riech agenda, kinda like the “progressive” lefts global ambitions…

          Remind you of the DNC booing God at the convention much?

          Folks lived “equal” under the rule of Constitutional law Republic untill the communist left divided us into a nation of victims groups with “special protected class status”..

          But its always the evil Founding Fathers and Republican conservitives with you Lenin useful idiot apoligists, huh.

          • borborygmi

            They lived equal unless you were a slave or an Indian(that would be native american or 1st nation for the pc crowd). So you are partially correct. Of course there was the old separate but equal thing going on in the south or Jim Crow Laws, and then if you were gay you couldn’t marry or join the military and be open. Then there was the voting and women “equality”. The pc crowd has gone too far when it comes to religion. All religions should be allowed, should be taught.

          • $8194357

            Democrats Jim Crow laws and slave ownership.
            KKK law enforcement arm of the Democratic party
            and “crony marxist capitalists” greed for native American land..
            (Globalists now want the UN AGENDA 21
            version of the same thing)
            Leftist elitists greed and ownership once again.
            Funny how “Equality under the Constitution” was a Republican platform leading to civial rights and womens suferage but
            “revised” to the socialis/communistt leftist agendas…
            Learn it..
            Understand it…
            I am no big fan of modern day RINO’s
            but it was Christian conservitive principles
            that was the root systems of equal before the law
            as it came from equal before the Lord.
            Modern day marxist social justice blame America crowd has
            done its dirty deeds of tearing down a rule of law nation, huh.

          • $8194357

            2 Timothy 3:1-7
            New King James Version (NKJV)

            Perilous Times and Perilous Men

            1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
            2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
            3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control,
            brutal, despisers of good,
            4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure
            rather than lovers of God,
            5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.
            And from such people turn away!
            6 For of this sort are those who creep into households
            and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins,
            led away by various lusts,
            7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

            Kinda nails the marxist social justice PC crowd
            between the eyes, huh gurgle.

          • LastBestHope

            “Kinda nails the marxist social justice PC crowd between the eyes”
            Yes…a biblical bullseye describing the 51% who voted for this ObamaNation.

          • $8194357

            Yes sir..

  • whowon

    It was an interesting day on the House floor, the milk debate was insane! Reminded me of the federal government fools, don’t listen to the facts from te other side of the aisle, just talk.

  • wj

    No matter what your view on the issue, it was a good illustration of the tension between cultural conservatives and libertarians within the Republican Party.

  • NDConservative2011

    Who’s your Nanny? Why of coarse it’s the North Dakota Legislature. In their minds, political subdivisons apparantly do not have the intelligence to govern as well as the legislature can.

  • Drain52

    “Local control” only when it suits them.

  • Captornado

    LOCAL CONTROL—-There are those mysterious words again. The definition of which no one really knows.

    • $8194357

      KIL ND….

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    This is an example of being caught between a rock and a hard place. If they vote to allow Sunday openings, they are anti-God or anti-family. Even many Democrats don’t want to appear anti-family.

    Politicians have to balance economic concerns with social concerns to stay in office. It is a reality of the position.

    Personally, I refuse to shop on Sunday, even when I really need to. But, I wouldn’t dream of forcing my choices on others.

    • RCND

      You hit on a key point though. “Personally, I refuse to shop on Sunday, even when I really need to. But, I wouldn’t dream of forcing my choices on others”

      That works the same for government. Engaging in commerce needs to be a decision made by the individual, be they a store owner, employee, or consumer.

    • Jeremiah Glosenger

      Don’t forget that those who have to work for an employer will then be forced to work those hours and miss religious worship services in order to keep their jobs. It can be a tough choice that families have to make. Obviously they need to keep a roof over their head; however, regular worship actually is good for the individual as well as the community (unless you are a Godless child of the devil in which case it does work to your disadvantage). Stores get to open at noon. Can’t people can wait that long for a new pair of shoes?

      • LegitSlater

        So what do people who work in a restaurant or c store do? How about cops or firefighters? ER docs and nurses?

        If they can make it work so can those working retail

        • Jeremiah Glosenger

          There is a difference between people dealing with emergencies and people selling shoes. I’m a surgeon, so I’m well aware of the need to provide some services as needed 24/7. Retail doesn’t pass muster.

      • ec99

        In that case maybe ND should mandate store closure from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday for the Jewish Sabbath.

  • ec99

    Welcome to the 19th century.

  • Jeremiah Glosenger

    The world, including our beloved nation, has a plethora of serious problems; yet, lets squabble about the terrible government intrusion of keeping stores closed for a few hours on Sunday so some workers might attend church without risking their jobs. Really?

    • Roy_Bean

      There’s 32 Seventh-day Adventist Churches in North Dakota, and 2 Jewish Synagogues. Both these religions observe the sabbath from Friday at sunset until Saturday evening. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to be open on Sunday morning?

      • Jeremiah Glosenger

        I’m not sure you asked that question the way you probably meant it. If you are suggesting that those who honor the sabbath on the original seventh day are wanting retail stores to be closed for a few hours so their adherents can attend services–I would support them in that.

  • Lynn Bergman

    Licentiousness is not equivalent to liberty. Morality and ethics still have a place in a great country.