To: House Industry, Business and Labor Committee
From: Christopher T. Dodson, Executive Director
Subject: House Bill 1437: Sunday Closing Law
Date: January 30, 2013

The North Dakota Catholic Conference opposes House Bill 1437.

House Bill 14377 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. A community that races to the bottom in its demands on workers, especially those of less means, is not a healthy community.

We urge a Do Not Pass on House Bill 1437.