To: Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee
From: Christopher T. Dodson, Executive Director
Subject: Senate Bill 2277 - Exemption to Sunday Closing Law
Date: January 26, 2011

The North Dakota Catholic Conference opposes Senate Bill 2277.

Senate Bill 2277 has the potential to significantly weaken current state law concerning commercial activity on Sunday mornings and, as such, erodes the common good.

The purpose of North Dakota’s Sunday closing law is not to impose times of worship. Nor is it to demand adherence to religious doctrine. The purpose of the law is to preserve the common good by ensuring that society is not overtaken by work and profit.

Humans and communities need periods of rest and free time that allow them to tend to family, cultural, social, and religious life. Only when communities set aside time devoted to these functions can human persons prosper and develop.

Rather than restricting individual freedom, closing laws liberate and free people from the antisocial degeneration of human work. Indeed, the need for closing laws is even greater in societies like ours that place a high value on economic liberty. Economic liberty can only thrive in healthy communities and a community that races to the bottom in its demands on workers, especially those of less means, is not a healthy community.

Senate Bill 2277 appears to allow the Sunday morning opening of numerous types of businesses in addition to new automobile dealerships. Accordingly, it poses a threat to communities and the common good.

We respectfully request a
Do Not Pass recommendation.