Today I reached out to Fargo businessman Brandon Medenwald. Medenwald is also the Sponsoring Committee Chairman for the petition drive to put an initiated measure on the November 2018 ballot to end North Dakota’s Sunday closing law– otherwise known as “Blue Laws”.
At the end of July, North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger approved the format of the petition to end North Dakota’s Sunday closing law. The non-profit known as “North Dakota Open on Sundays” then began collecting the required 13,452 signatures to put the issue before voters.
In order to give themselves a cushion – a practice that is common for petition drives to ensure sufficient signatures remain if unqualified ones are thrown out – North Dakota Open on Sundays set a goal of collecting 20,000 signatures by the deadline of July 9, 2018.
According to Medenwald, they have since gathered about 3,300 signatures– which is nearly 25% of the state’s requirements and about 17% of their own goal. And while recognizing the challenges that lie ahead with collecting signatures in a North Dakota winter, the group has plans to collect signatures this weekend at UND and NDSCS homecoming parades.
Medenwald says that the reception from the public has been positive:
“The response has been good and we’ve heard from folks across the state that are always amazed at this law and what it actually does. When hearing about the law first-hand, few choose to defend it.
“People are certainly more favorable than not.”
And any opposition to the movement has stemmed from typical arguments:
“Any pushback we’ve received has been typically along the lines of ‘I like to sleep in, so this doesn’t bother me’ or ‘I like to attend church service on Sunday morning, so this doesn’t bother me’.
How does Medenwald and others respond to such statements? By acknowledging the value in what they desire:
“Our argument is always the same. Sleeping in, spending time at church, or spending time with your family are great ways to spend Sunday morning. If you choose to do this, that’s super! But, not everyone wants to do this at the same time you do, and our laws should accommodate everyone. The state of North Dakota shouldn’t tell you when to attend church, when to rest, when to work, or when to spend your hard-earned money. The state should trust that you know what’s right for yourself and your family.”
And they’re right. Remember, governments should only be empowered to do those things that the people they represent have the power to do themselves. And since we do not have the right to dictate to our neighbors when they can or cannot open their businesses, then the state shouldn’t be dictating it either.
While things are technically running ahead of schedule at this point, winter will be here soon and Medenwald says they can use more help:
“We would love to have more help. We can use more volunteers to help gather signatures across the state. While we’re progressing for certain, many hands make light work. Anyone that would like to help would be encouraged to reach out to us on Facebook/Twitter or they could email me directly.”
If you’d like to assist North Dakota Open on Sundays, you may contact Brandon Medenwald at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. https://www.theminutemanblog.com/single-post/2017/07/07/Is-it-the-Beginning-of-the-End-for-NDs-Sunday-Closing-Law 2. https://www.theminutemanblog.com/single-post/2017/07/20/Poll-Shows-NDtans-Favor-Ending-Sunday-Closing-Laws-by-Large-Margin 3. https://www.theminutemanblog.com/single-post/2017/07/26/Sec-of-State-Okays-Gathering-Signatures-to-End-Sunday-Closing-Laws