North Texas Daily

Blue laws in Texas need to be abolished

Blue laws in Texas need to be abolished

Blue laws in Texas need to be abolished
July 12
16:30 2020

Old-fashioned blue laws, which prohibit the sale of liquor and automobiles on Sundays, still exist in Texas. Most blue laws were repealed in 1985 because they violate the separation of church and state. For some reason, Texas has held onto two of these archaic laws, and now might be the time to abolish them.

In a country built on religious freedom, it is unacceptable for the government to enforce laws that are based on religious beliefs. Every citizen has a right to choose their own religious beliefs, or to choose not to believe. Blue laws force religious beliefs on all citizens, even if they do not believe the same and this is not right.

Forcing a business to shut down on a specific day because it is important to people in the Christian religion, discriminates against business owners and consumers who do not subscribe to those religious beliefs. If an orthodox Jewish citizen cannot shop on Friday or Saturday due to their religious beliefs and they need a new car on Sunday, they cannot get one. If an atheist citizen wants to purchase a bottle of vodka on a Sunday, they cannot because the laws cater to Christian citizens.

House Democrats in Texas have been trying to legalize the sale of liquor on Sundays for years. Most recently House Bill 1100 was introduced in January 2019, but it died in committee. The bill would have allowed liquor stores to operate on Sundays.

Another bill would leave the decision to open on Sundays to the business owners, giving them the freedom to choose, Senate Bill 785 was sent to the state Senate in February 2019. The bill was left pending in committee in April 2019. This legislation shows that citizens, government officials and business owners want to abolish blue laws.

Auto sales laws in Texas are a little less restrictive than liquor laws, but the government still does not give business owners the freedom to operate on weekends. Owners must choose which day of the weekend they remain open, most of them choose to close on Sunday because Saturdays bring more business.

Abolishing the blue laws on auto sales would give business owners the freedom to remain open all weekend as well as the freedom to stay closed on Sundays. My point is that in a free country they should be allowed to choose when they can do business.

Like the legislative attempts to legalize liquor sales on Sundays, lawmakers have tried to open car dealerships on Sundays in Texas. Senate Bill 441 was introduced to allow car dealerships the freedom to remain open for business on both Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately, the bill was introduced in 2015 and it has been in committee for five years.

Abolishing blue laws in Texas would have a positive impact on citizens, business owners and the economy. Research conducted in 2013 found that allowing liquor sales on Sundays would have added $7.4 million to the General Revenue Fund. The revenue from liquor sales could do more for Texans than restricting their right to purchase liquor on Sundays. It is time to abolish blue laws and provide the state of Texas with additional revenue at a critical time when unemployment is at an all-time high.

Currently, we are experiencing a global pandemic and millions of Texans have filed for unemployment benefits. Allowing liquor sales on Sundays would give liquor stores more revenue, their employees would work more hours and the state would collect additional revenue. The same can be said for auto sales since the state would collect tax revenue on those as well.

At a time when we need more revenue, it would be smart to abolish laws that prevent the state from profiting. The money could be used for education, law enforcement reform, coronavirus testing and much more. We need to use our voting power to elect progressive officials who want the Texas economy to continue growing during difficult times.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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Shelby Stevens

Shelby Stevens

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