The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 5, 2013

Your View: It’s time to repeal more Blue Laws

Rob Swart, Mankato

— The Blue Laws in Minnesota were enacted out of religious beliefs to keep the Sabbath sacred.

Many have been repealed. Banking and hair cuts were just a few that are no longer banned.

I had thought the libertarian bent of some Minnesota politicians would have spelled the doom of those Blue Laws that remain.

Minnesota is far more multicultural since those laws were enacted, or even when they were last challenged in the courts.

In some cases they make no sense. We sell beer on Sundays. We pretended that beer that was 3.2 percent alcohol wasn’t beer. Today, we pretend they make 3.2 percent beer.

To keep Sunday sales going, Minnesota hasn’t raised the fine for selling strong beer in 3.2 retail stores. The fine is paid because it is cheaper than brewing separate batches for Minnesota stores.

The legal store hours have changed in the last 35 years. In Mankato, Monday through Thursday retail liquor stores had an 8 p.m. closing. In North Mankato, it was 10 p.m.

Disaster hasn’t followed.

In far more conservative states like Arizona, they wouldn’t think to close stores on Sunday. Much has changed in how the courts look at things in the last 40 years.

I do not see the Minnesota courts upholding a challenge to the religious Blue Laws still on the books.

Why do we not also observe Friday and Saturday Sabbaths? Liquor stores and auto dealers should not be discriminated against and should be allowed to decide for themselves what days they open.

A court challenge would cost Minnesota taxpayers money that could be spent more wisely.