Monday, October 29, 2012

Sunday Closure Thoughts by Kristen Chevrier

Some thoughts on Sunday closure (please share this with your friends in Highland):

I do not see the push to abolish Sunday closing laws as a push toward freedom. I see it as just another attempt to homogenize and to stifle the ability of a community to set its own standards.

Please consider the following:

  • Thomas Jefferson and James Madison favored Sunday closing laws. The Supreme Court has affirmed that every community has the right to determine the values it will support (McGowan v. Maryland, 1961). The Constitution alludes to the observance of Sunday as a day of rest in Article 1, Section 7.

  • All law is based on somebody's moral code. Anyone can choose to be offended by any law that goes against their way of thinking. If we claim God's law as our moral code, then our laws should be based on his law. In fact, the Ten Commandments are the basis of most of this nation's laws.

  • Requiring Sunday closing is no different from requiring buildings to look a certain way or requiring store-fronts to be closed between the hours of midnight and 6 am. It is simply a choice that every community has the latitude to make.

  • Sunday closing does not infringe on rights. Businesses chose to locate here knowing the rules of the community. Residents chose to live here and may shop on Sunday within minutes of their homes. There is nothing for sale in Highland that must be bought on Sunday and can't be found anywhere close by. But Sunday opening will require some chains to be open on Sunday.*

  • Those who support doing away with Sunday closing for possible financial benefits have provided no solid evidence of proposed developments that would come to our city as a result of Sunday retail.** In fact, there are additional expenses associated with Sunday opening that would eat up most of the tax revenue and cost stores more money than they bring in.***

"[I]n a day and age where too much of life is caught in an unhealthy 24/7/365 pattern of work, it seems tragic that a community like Highland would abandon the huge cultural asset it enjoys through Sunday closing laws simply to manage a fiscal squeeze” (“Misguided tax policy,” Deseret News editorial, April 16, 2012).

We have a beautiful thing in Highland. It is not necessary that we cave in to peer pressure and become just another hustling, bustling city, like every other city.

Please vote AGAINST Proposition 6 to preserve our home-town community atmosphere.

Thank you!!

Kristen Chevrier, Highland

*Some corporations require Sunday opening (Dominoes, Great Clips and Orange Leaf, at least), unless a city statute prohibits it. Dominoes came to Highland specifically because it could be closed on Sundays. Prop 6 will remove that protection and require them, and others, to open, regardless of what it does to their bottom line.

**Walmart never considered coming to Highland; Smith's had a conditional use permit to come here and chose not to because the lot was not big enough for their Marketplace; Sunday closure is not the only reason, or even the main reason, that stores have chosen not to locate here. A few other reasons include our lot sizes, our location and our prior ordinance against drive-throughs.

**Additional expenses for the city include increased police and fire service and at least some of the following:

"This study is based on a nation-wide analysis of the retail sector as a whole and ten subsectors in all regions of the U. S. with and without blue laws. The results suggest that Sunday closing laws do not affect the overall level of retail activity in a region in a significant manner."

"Repealing America's blue laws not only decreased church attendance, donations and spending, but it also led to a rise in alcohol and drug use among people who had been religious, according to a new study by economists Jonathan Gruber of MIT and Daniel Hungerman of the University of Notre Dame."

"The model predicts that in the short run prices will remain constant, but increase in the long run. Concentration in the retail sector will rise and opening hours will increase in two steps, immediately after deregulation and further over time." (Tobias Wenzel, Liberalization of Opening Hours with Free Entry, Ruhr Graduate School in Economics)

Changes in personal situation of full-time employees
because of longer opening hours (%)

Personal Situations



Reconciliation of work and private life



Time for family life



Opportunities for leisure time



Time for further training



Exhaustion after work



Relation to customers






"According to a report by the Autonomous University of Madrid, in France, where shops have greater freedom to open on public holidays, costs have increased by 15% and sales by 0.5%, which has affected prices: consumers have to pay more, whether or not they shop on public holidays. Furthermore, the transfer of market share to department stores may lead to a decrease in competition and the closing of small shops may lead to the desertion of large cities. Finally, the study finds that it is not clear whether the extension of working hours creates employment, and it may lead to an increasing instability of working conditions for workers in both small and large shops, according to how the employers use the possibilities of flexible working hours provided by legislation."

For a list of other articles on this topic click here.

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