Sec. of State Okays Gathering Signatures to End Sunday Closing Laws

Yesterday, North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger approved the format of a petition to end North Dakota’s Sunday closing laws. The non-profit known as “North Dakota Open on Sundays” may now begin collecting the required 13,452 signatures to put the issue before voters in the November 2018 General Election.

The North Dakota Legislature had the opportunity to repeal the laws – known as “Blue Laws” – this last legislative session, but House Bill 1163 took some interesting turns before being defeated in the Senate by a vote of 22 – 25.

Initially, HB 1163 was defeated in the House – where it originated – by a vote of 44 – 50. But upon reconsideration the following day, it passed by a two-vote margin of 48 – 46.

The bill caught the public’s attention for all the wrong reasons as one House member joked about the need for wives to make their husbands breakfast in bed and another kidding about his wife spending all he has in 6 1/2 days already. On the Senate side, the religious element was paramount as one Senator expounded about agnostics, atheists, Humanism, religious freedom, and Christianity.

As is sometimes the case, the Legislature is out of touch with what North Dakotans want. And this seems to be lining up to become one of those issues. A recent poll in the Grand Forks Herald showed that 75% of responders oppose Sunday Closing Laws.

According to North Dakota Open on Sundays Facebook page, they will begin gathering signatures this coming weekend:

While purely speculation, I’m guessing that if the group wanted to they could get a major jump on signature gathering by simply utilizing the final days of the North Dakota State Fair. Historically speaking, the Fair is a gold mine for those seeking to put issues on the ballot.

The petition’s Sponsoring Committee Chairman Brandon Medenwald – a Fargo businessman – and his supporters have until July 9th next year to gather the necessary signatures for the November Election. Their goal is to exceed the minimum requirement by gathering 20,000. A smart move that gives the group the necessary buffer in the verification process that will occur after the petitions are turned in.

Should I have the opportunity to sign the petition, I will. And when the opportunity is presented to vote for this on the ballot, I’ll do that too. Not because I hate religion (in fact, quite the opposite). Not because I don’t believe people should have time to worship (we should). Not because I don’t believe family time is important (I do). I’ll vote for it because I don’t believe government should dictate when private businesses are open. It’s that simple.

And when the votes are tallied, I believe the overwhelming majority of North Dakotans are going to agree with me.

Say “good-bye” to the Sunday Closing Laws. Because on January 1, 2019 they’ll be a thing of the past.


  1.  Click here to see the petition as approved by the Secretary of State.

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About T. Arthur Mason 341 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.