North Dakota has a law that prohibits most businesses from being open from midnight to noon on Sunday. This is Chapter 12.1-30 of the North Dakota Century Code, officially known as the Sunday Closing Law. This is often referred to as North Dakota's "Blue Law".
North Dakota has a law that prohibits most businesses from being open from midnight to noon on Sunday. This is Chapter 12.1-30 of the North Dakota Century Code, officially known as the Sunday Closing law. This is often referred to as North Dakota's "Blue Law."
Over the years, this law has been relaxed. When North Dakota became a state in 1889, all businesses were required to be closed for the entire day. In 1967 some businesses like restaurants and pharmacies were allowed to be open after a blizzard created an emergency. In 1991, retailers were permitted to open at noon. In 2015, bars were allowed to sell alcohol at 11am (the so-called “Brunch Bill”) solely to allow sports bars to compete for patrons during the NFL season with neighboring states.
There are now 39 exceptions to this incredibly old law. Some are necessary for our society like hospitals and power plants. While some businesses allowed to be open, like bingo parlors, Christmas tree stands, and bait shops, only exist because some legislator wanted to play bingo, buy a Christmas tree, or go fishing on Sunday morning.
There is also 44 classes of items that cannot be sold by any business on Sunday morning, even those like gas stations and grocery stores that are allowed to be open. These prohibited items include such things as clothing, kitchen utensils, radios, cameras, watches, mirrors, and lumber. This means while a grocery store can sell you a can of soup at 11:30am on Sunday, it's illegal for them to sell you a can opener to open it.
We believe that it should be the right of all North Dakotas to choose when they wish to earn a living and when they want to spend their own hard-earned money. It's hypocritical of the state government to pick and choose which stores can decide for themselves when to be open to the public. North Dakota doesn’t dictate to farmers when to farm, hospitals when to practice medicine, or restaurants when to feed people. We do not believe it should dictate to any business owners when they can sell their goods and services.
We stand for freedom and flexibility for North Dakotans.
To be clear: repealing this law does not force businesses to be open on Sunday mornings. To the contrary, repealing this law allows those that wish to open to do so while permitting those that want to close to do so. Repealing this law also does not force consumers to patronize these businesses on Sunday morning. All people should have the freedom to choose how to spend their time.
By allowing businesses that wish to open on Sunday from midnight to noon to do so, we can aid North Dakota's budget and economy. Businesses pay sales tax to North Dakota that is not paid if the consumer spends their money in a neighboring state. If a shop chooses to open earlier on Sunday, the increased hours means more payroll taxes in the state coffers as well.
Please join us in our efforts to repeal North Dakota’s Sunday Closing Law.