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Politics & Government

Sunday opening initiative 'about 12-15 percent completed'

The leader of a group to put a measure on the ballot to repeal North Dakota’s Sunday “blue law” says his group is on track to make its goal.

Brandon Medenwald is a Fargo businessman who heads “North Dakota Open on Sundays.” He wants to get rid of the law that now prohibits most retailers from being open before noon Sundays.

"We've been out now for about 8 or 9 weeks,'" Medenwald said. "If I had to guess, we're somewhere between 12 and 15 percent completed."

The issue was brought up in the 2017 Legislature. It passed the House, but was rejected in the Senate.

Medenwald needs 13,452 signatures by next July to get the measure on the November ballot. He wants to collect 20,000.

Medenwald said the law is arcane – and unenforceable.

"When we're out talking to people, I usually ask them, 'Would you like to allow business owners to choose for themselves,'" Medenwald said. "'If they (employers) can pay a fair wage, would you like them to be open?' I think people are overwhelmingly responsive to that argument."

Medenwald said there are all sorts of businesses that are open Sunday, and pay their employees a fair wage on the weekends.

"We think that more choice is good," Medenwald said.

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