1.a statute regulating work on Sundays
blue law (n.)
A blue law is a type of law, typically found in the United States, Scandinavia and, formerly, in Canada, designed to enforce religious standards, particularly the observance of Sunday as a day of worship or rest, and a restriction on Sunday shopping. Most have been repealed, have been declared unconstitutional, or are simply unenforced; though prohibitions on the sale of alcoholic beverages or prohibitions of almost all commerce on Sundays are still enforced in many areas. Blue laws often prohibit an activity only during certain hours and there are usually exceptions to the prohibition of commerce, like grocery and drug stores. In some places blue laws may be enforced due to religious principles, but others are retained as a matter of tradition or out of convenience.
Many European countries, such as Germany, ban most Sunday shopping. Laws of this type are also found in Israel, where the day concerned is Saturday rather than Sunday. In Saudi Arabia, eating in public during the daytime is prohibited during the Muslim month of Ramadan.
The first occurrence of the phrase blue law so far found is in the New-York Mercury of March 3, 1755, where the writer imagines a future newspaper praising the revival of "our Connecticut's old Blue Laws". In his 1781 book General History of Connecticut, the Reverend Samuel Peters (1735–1826) used it to describe various laws first enacted by Puritan colonies in the 17th century that prohibited various activities, recreational as well as commercial, on Sunday Sabbath (Saturday evening through Sunday night). Sometimes the sale of certain types of merchandise was prohibited, and in some cases all retail and business activity.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence to support the assertion that the blue laws were originally printed on blue paper. Rather, the word blue was used in the 17th century as a disparaging reference to rigid moral codes and those who observed them, particularly in blue-stocking, a reference to Oliver Cromwell's supporters in the parliament of 1653. Moreover, although Reverend Peters claimed that the term blue law was originally used by Puritan colonists, his work has since been found to be unreliable. In any event, Peters never asserted that the blue laws were originally printed on blue paper, and this has come to be regarded as an example of false etymology. Another version is that the laws were first bound in books with blue covers.
Southern and mid-western states also passed numerous laws to protect Sunday Sabbath during the mid to late 19th century. Laws targeted numerous groups including saloon owners, Jews, Seventh-day Adventists, and non-religious peoples. These Sunday laws enacted at the state and local levels would sometimes carry penalties for doing non-religious activities on Sunday as part of an effort to enforce religious observance and church attendance. Numerous people were arrested for playing cards, baseball, and even fixing wagon wheels on Sunday.
In Henry Taber's Faith or Fact, he writes:
The first observance of Sunday—that history records is in the fourth century', when Constantine issued an edict (not requiring its religious observance, but simply abstinence from work) reading, 'let all the judges and people of the town rest and all the various trades be suspended on the venerable day of the sun.' At the time of the issue of this edict, Constantine was a sun-worshiper; therefore it could have had no relation whatsoever to Christianity.
In Texas, for example, blue laws prohibited selling housewares such as pots, pans, and washing machines on Sunday until 1985. In Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, car dealerships continue to operate under blue-law prohibitions in which an automobile may not be purchased or traded on a Sunday. Maryland permits Sunday automobile sales only in the counties of Prince George's, Montgomery, and Howard; similarly, Michigan restricts Sunday sales to only those counties with a population of less than 130,000. Texas and Utah prohibit car dealerships from operating over consecutive weekend days. In some cases these laws were created or retained with the support of those whom they affected, to allow them a day off each week without fear of their competitors still being open.
Many states still prohibit selling alcohol for on and off-premise sales in one form or another on Sundays at some restricted time, under the rationale that people should be in church on Sunday morning, or at least not drinking.
Another feature of blue laws restricts the purchase of particular items on Sundays which is an unusual feature in modern American culture. Some of these laws still restrict the ability to buy cars, groceries, office supplies and housewares among other things. Though most of these laws have been relaxed or repealed in most states, they are still strictly enforced in some other states.
Some states still prohibit hunting in various degrees on Sundays.
Blue laws may also prohibit retail activity on days other than Sunday. In Massachusetts and Connecticut, for example, blue laws dating to the Puritans of the 17th century still prohibit most retail stores, including grocery stores, from opening on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Any sale of alcohol (defined within three categories: wine, beer, and spirits) is prohibited daily between 2am and 6am, regardless of whether intended for on-premises and off-premises use. Between 6am and 2am, all three can be sold at convenience stores, grocery stores and private retail stores.
Sunday retail alcohol sales in stores were prohibited by the Georgia General Assembly up until 2011. On April 28, 2011 Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation allowing local communities to vote on whether to allow alcohol sales on Sundays. On November 8, 2011, voters in more than 100 Georgia cities and counties cast ballots on whether or not to allow stores to sell alcohol on Sundays. It passed in Valdosta, Atlanta, Savannah and many other cities. Before this, cities and counties of sufficiently large populations such as most of Metro Atlanta already had Sunday alcohol sales at bars and restaurants, with local ordinances to abide by, such as having a certain amount of food sales in order to be opened and serve alcohol. Exceptions were also made by the drink at festivals and large events.
Off-premises alcohol sales are completely prohibited on Sundays. Restaurants and taverns generally still serve it. Additionally, alcohol sales are prohibited on Christmas Day. A recent change in legislation now allows Indiana residents to purchase alcohol on Election Day after all polls are closed. Vehicle sales are also banned on Sundays.
Maine was the last New England State to take off the books laws that prohibited department stores from opening on Sundays. The laws against the department stores opening on Sundays were ended by referendum in 1990. Recent efforts to overturn the laws restricting automobile dealerships from opening on Sunday have died in committee in the Maine legislature. Rep. Don Pilon of Saco has led the effort to get rid of the laws that prohibit automobile dealerships from opening for business on Sundays. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays.
Most off-premises alcohol sales were not permitted on Sundays until 2004. Exceptions were made in 1990 for municipalities that fell within 10 miles of the New Hampshire or Vermont border. Since 1992 cities and towns statewide were able to sell on Sundays from the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving to New Years Day. In both exceptions sales were not allowed before noon. Since the law changed in 2004, off-premises sales are now allowed anywhere in the state, with local approval, after noon. Retail alcohol sales remain barred on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and Memorial Day. Hunting on Sunday is prohibited.
Massachusetts also has a "Day of Rest" statute that provides that all employees are entitled to one day off from work in seven calendar days.
Retail employees working on Sundays must be paid time-and-a-half.
The sale of alcohol is banned from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Sunday. The only exception to this rule is New Year's Day, in which case alcohol sales are permitted until 4 a.m. Alcohol sale was likewise banned on Sundays until 12p.m., and on Dec. 25 from 12 a.m. until 12 p.m, until a repeal in late 2010. Specific localities may petition for exceptions for either on-site or off-site consumption.
Additionally, vehicle sales are banned on Sunday in counties having a population of 130,000 or more. Vehicle dealers who keep seventh-day Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday may operate on Sundays instead.
Car dealerships are not allowed to be open for sales on Sunday.
The sale of alcohol is prohibited in most of Mississippi on Sundays. Also, the sale of liquor is not allowed at all in nearly half of the state's counties.
The sale of alcohol is prohibited from 1:30 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Alcohol sales on Sunday are allowed from 9:00 a.m. to midnight subject to an additional liquor license fee.
One of the last remaining Sunday closing laws in the United States that covers selling electronics, clothing and furniture is found in Bergen County, New Jersey. Bergen County, part of the New York metropolitan area, has one the largest concentrations of enclosed retail shopping malls of any county in the nation; four major malls lie within the county. Paramus in Bergen County, where three of the four major malls are located, has even more restrictive blue laws than the county itself, banning all type of work on Sundays except in grocery stores, restaurants, and other entertainment venues. The Bergen County legislature recently wanted to abolish them, but residents who live near Garden State Plaza objected.
Alcohol sales for consumption off-premises are not permitted between 4 AM and 8 AM on Sundays, while on-premises sales are not permitted between 4 AM and 8 AM on any day. Prior to 2006, off-premises alcohol sales were forbidden until noon on Sundays, and liquor/wine stores were required to be closed the entire day. Because grocery stores are not permitted to carry wine or liquor, the older law essentially meant that only beer and alcoholic malt beverages could be purchased at all on Sundays.
Relatively few parts of New York actually permit alcohol sales at all times permissible under state law; most counties have more restrictive blue laws of their own.
NY State liquor authorities ban new permits for establishments on the same street or avenue and within two hundred feet of a building occupied exclusively as a school, church, synagogue or other place of worship. 
North Carolina does not allow alcohol sales between 2am and 7am Monday through Saturday or before noon on Sundays.
North Dakota may have the strictest remaining blue law of the United States. Many goods and items are restricted from being sold between midnight and noon on Sunday, rendering virtually all retailers closed in those hours, including malls and large retail chains such as Walmart. Prior to 1991 the law was stricter, when changes more clearly defined which businesses were exempt such as pharmacies, hospitals, and restaurants. The 1991 change also allowed businesses to open at noon on Sunday. Previously the laws were in effect all of Sunday until midnight. The changes were made after a 1991 blizzard, after which citizens were not able to purchase some needed goods and services due to the blue law.
It is illegal to sell packaged liquor (off-premises sales) on Sundays. Sales also are prohibited on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Car dealerships are also closed on Sundays.
Organized sports competition on Sundays was illegal in Pennsylvania until 1931, when challenged by the Philadelphia A's, the laws were changed permitting baseball only to be played on Sundays. In 1933, Bert Bell, understanding that prerequisites to a NFL franchise being granted to him were changes in the blue laws, played the primary role of convincing then Governor Gifford Pinchot to issue a bill before the Pennsylvanian legislature to deprecate the Blue Laws. The legislature passed the bill in April 1933, paving the way for Philadelphia Eagles to play on Sundays. The law also directed local communities to hold referendums to determine the status and extent of Blue Laws in their respective jurisdictions. On November 7, 1933, the referendum on the Blue Laws passed in Philadelphia and it became law.
Regarding alcohol, wines and spirits are to be sold only in the state owned Wine And Spirits shops, where all prices must remain the same throughout the state (county sales tax may cause the price to differ slightly). Beer may only be purchased from a restaurant, bar, licensed beer store, or distributor. Six and twelve packs, along with individual bottles such as 40 ounce or 24 ounce beers, may only be purchased at bars, restaurants, and licensed retailers. For larger quantities one must go to a beverage distributor which sells beer only by the case or keg. Beverage distributors (which also sell soft drinks) may sell beer and malt liquor, but not wine or hard liquor.
Car dealerships are also closed on Sunday.
Car dealerships must remain closed on either Saturday or Sunday, at the option of the dealer.
Any alcohol (beer, wine, spirits) cannot be bought on Sundays before noon. Liquor stores are closed on Sundays and must be closed by nine o'clock every day of the week. Beer and wine can be sold at any retailer that can supply, but liquor (spirits) must be sold at specialized stores only.
Traditional forms of hunting on Sunday are illegal, except for raccoons which may be pursued until 2 a.m., hunting on licensed hunting preserves, use of dogs all day to hunt bear, raccoon and fox.
The sale of alcohol for off-premises consumption is prohibited between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. daily, and state-run liquor stores have limited hours of operation on Sunday.
Hunting on Sunday is illegal in 41 of 55 counties. Alcohol sales are prohibited on Sunday in West Virginia until 1:00 P.M. EST.
Car Dealerships are not allowed to be open for sales on Sundays.
The Lord's Day Act, which since 1906 had prohibited business transactions from taking place on Sundays, was struck down as unconstitutional in the 1985 case R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd. Calgary police officers witnessed several transactions at the Big M Drug Mart, all of which occurred on a Sunday. Big M was charged with a violation of the Lord's Day Act. A provincial court ruled that the Lord's Day Act was unconstitutional, but the Crown proceeded to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. In a unanimous 6-0 decision, the Lord's Day Act was ruled an infringement of the freedom of conscience and religion defined in section 2(a) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In Chile most services and businesses are closed on both New Year's Day (January 1) and Labor Day (May 1). Much like on the U.S., alcoholic beverages in Chile are not sold on Sunday mornings, while on election days their sale is prohibited by law during the entire day (starting the Saturday before).
Late in 2010, some Congressmen (after the four-day Bicentennial holiday was proved successful) asked for a law that would forbid the opening of supermarkets and department stores on Sundays, however retailers claimed that Sunday shopping made about 20% of their weekly sales, more than other day of the week, thus preventing the law from taking place.
In the Cook Islands, blue laws were first written legislation, enacted by the London Missionary Society in 1827, with the consent of ariki (chiefs). In Tonga, the Vava'u Code (1839) was inspired by Methodist missionary teachings, and was a form of blue law. In Niue, certain activities remain forbidden on Sunday, reflecting the country's history of observing Christian Sabbath tradition.
Running most public transportation from Friday evenings to Saturday evenings is banned in Israel.
In Norway the sale of alcohol on Sundays is strictly illegal, the sale of alcohol on Saturdays ends at 3pm, while it ends 6pm at weekdays.
The concept of a secular day of rest, not directly related to a religious day of rest, has been cited as justification for retention of restrictions on commercial activity on Sunday.
In R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd.,  (1 S.C.R. 295), the Canada Supreme Court opined that the 1906 Lord's Day Act that required most places to be closed on Sunday did not have a legitimate secular purpose, and was an unconstitutional attempt to establish a religious-based closing law in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, the court later concluded, in R. v. Edwards Books and Art Ltd.,  (2 S.C.R. 713) that Ontario's Retail Business Holiday Act, which required some Sunday closings, did not violate the Charter because it did not have a religious purpose.
The Supreme Court of the United States held in its landmark case, McGowan v. Maryland (1961), that Maryland's blue laws violated neither the Free Exercise Clause nor the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It approved the state's blue law restricting commercial activities on Sunday, noting that while such laws originated to encourage attendance at Christian churches, the contemporary Maryland laws were intended to serve "to provide a uniform day of rest for all citizens" on a secular basis and to promote the secular values of "health, safety, recreation, and general well-being" through a common day of rest. That this day coincides with Christian Sabbath is not a bar to the state's secular goals; it neither reduces its effectiveness for secular purposes nor prevents adherents of other religions from observing their own holy days.
There were four landmark Sunday-law cases altogether in 1961. The other three were Gallagher v. Crown Kosher Super Market of Mass., Inc., 366 U.S. 617 (1961); Braunfeld v. Brown, 366 U.S. 599 (1961); Two Guys from Harrison vs. McGinley, 366 U.S. 582 (1961).
In March 2006 Texas judges upheld the state blue law that requires car dealerships to close either Saturday or Sunday each weekend.
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