State law that retailers can't be open before noon Sundays could change through initiative

Mar 16, 2017

A Fargo businessman is working on an initiated measure to do away with the law that prohibits retail stores from being open before noon on Sunday.

That –after the state Senate rejected a bill to make that change. It had earlier passed the House – on a second try.

Brandon Medenwald has launched “North Dakota Open on Sundays.” He saids he’s putting a committee together – and hopes to have the initiative’s language ready to submit to the Secretary of State’s office within a couple of weeks. If the language is approved, his group will need to gather 13, 452 valid signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

"We're not trying to force people to shop, or force people to work (on Sunday)," Medenwald said in an interview with Prairie Public. "We're trying to provide the option for those that wish to."

Medenwald said he doesn’t think state government should dictate when businesses can and cannot be open.

"North Dakota doesn't dictate to hospitals, farmers or hotels, or retirement centers -- the list goes on and on," Medenwald said. "There's 39 different exceptions to the law. And we believe, as a matter of basic fairness, that the other businesses should enjoy that exact same privilege."

Medenwald said he’s encouraged by the support shown for getting rid of that prohibition. But he said he’s not taking anything for granted.

"We know that the turnout in mid-term elections is lower, and tends to be a little older," Medenwald said. "I do not take for granted that this will be an easy pass. But I do think we will get the signatured we need."