Blue Laws

Personally, the biggest civil disobedience I personally saw, and participated in, was back in 1985, when merchants broke Texas blue laws (laws restricting the sale of items on certain days) and opened on Sunday.

Under the blue laws of that time, which was likely loosened from previous laws; some merchants stores and items had the option of not selling on Saturdays if they wanted to sell on Sunday. Certain items were restricted. It was not totally logical (i.e. you could not sell a hammer but you could sell nails). Most shopping malls were closed on Sunday. Departmet stores would rope off items if they were open.

This was not so much a protest for gov’t action as much as a competitive need to do business to stay in business (this was a low point in TX economy) and consumer willingness to shop (which is how I participated). People shopped and the state had no reasonable way nor great desire to stop it.

I heard NY and other states had similar incidents. I also remember going to Scotland in 85 and seeing blue laws that were similar, but stricter than what Texas had.

Tell me your stories. What kind of blue laws you have? How were they reduced. I am open to other successful civil disobediences you have witnessed.

You can’t buy liquor or “real” beer in MN on Sundays. You can, however, buy that 3.2 crap.

In Dade County, FL you can buy beer and hard liquor but not wine on Sundays. When prohibition ended the blue-hairs of the day wanted to keep it. To piss them off the city fathers ensured that said blue hairs could not buy wine for their Sunday dinners :slight_smile:

(I should note that bars are open on Sundays in both places.)

Yeah, liquor laws were not affected much by that disobedience. Ice-houses and beer joints, large venues, and most restaurants stay open until 12:00, 1 a.m. Saturdays. Pubs, live band bars, and dance clubs, and those who have full service bars, opt for the 2 a.m. nightly licence.

But different stuff. You can not take a beer inside or outside(they may have a porch but not out on public property). I hear some places let you walk out with it. Liquor stores have to close on sundays and by 9 p.m. the rest of the week. It cracks me up when convenience stores lock up nightrain, MD 20-20, and Thunderbird wine sections at these times.

We can by single beer at convenience stores. I hear many states do not allow it. I hear some states have state liquor stores.

Skip this post if you don’t give a fig about hundred year-old blue law history. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended; this stuff is pretty obscure, and not very exciting – but it is a little interesting.

In the mid-1890’s blue laws were a very hot political issue in New York State. Upstate, conservative, Protestants had passed statewide laws making open saloons illegal on Sundays. These laws were extremely unpopular downstate in NYC where German (and Irish) immigrants considered Sunday beerdrinking a harmless social practice carried over from the Old Country. So NYC Tammany Hall (Democratic) pols, who wooed the immigrant vote, saw to it that the coppers looked the other way enforcing the blue laws in ol’ Gotham.

But then around 1894 Republicans and reformers toppled the Tammany hacks and flushed out the slacker cops. The incorruptable Teddy Roosevelt was appointed a NYC Police Commissioner, and he proceeded to enforce the Sunday liquor ban, much to the outrage of the immigrant voters. The Republicans were in a bind: TR was too popular with the reformers to dump, loyal upstate Protestants were the foundation of the party so they could not be ignored, and the NYC immigrants had to be appeased so that they wouldn’t switch their allegiances back to Tammany Hall.

The ingenious solution was called the Raines Law. It allowed liquor to be served in “rooming houses” – but still not saloons – on Sundays. Any establishment that served food and had a certain (small) number of rooms to rent could qualify as a rooming house. Dozens of bars became rooming houses overnight. A moldy old sandwich (IIRC, known as a “Raines sandwich”) would be displayed as “proof” that food was served, and a handful of rooms – used mostly by prostitutes – were made available to rent. Though the beer flowed as freely as before, the upstaters were happy with the compromise.

Some early critics claimed the Raines Law was just a hollow political sleight of hand that did nothing but encourage prostitution, but later analysts concluded it was not so bad. The “rooming houses” were licensed by the state, and thus added a tidy sum to the NYS treasury – much to the benefit of all New Yorkers. Thus it could be considered a sort of early vice tax.

I don’t remember any civil disobediance, but I learned to drive my dad’s VW Rabbit thanks to the blue laws. I got my learner’s permit in '84 shortly after I turned 16 and practiced shifting while driving around the parking lots in the warehouse district in Jefferson, Louisiana, every Sunday.

In Ohio grocery stores can sell wine and beer, but not hard liquor, which can only be bought at State stores. You can buy gin and vodka which have been watered down to a lower proof. Weird. They will, however, load entire cases of beer into your trunk at the drive-through beer distributors. I think there were other rules, too–I once saw the beer case at a convenience store chained shut because it was Sunday.

In Pennsylvania (at least where we were living) wine and liquor were only sold at State stores. Beer could be bought only at beer distributors. Also, at the State liquor stores they were not allowed to sell soda or even mixers, unless they were in the same box as the booze.

Fortunately, I’m back in California, where you can buy any damn thing anywhere.

In my State (MI), I think blue laws will soon be one of those things we’ll have to 'splain to the youngsters.

Currently, you’re not allowed to sell any alcholic beverages from 2 am Sat until after 12 noon on Sunday (presumably so ya don’t go carrryin’ that six pack into church).

Perhaps ammo/guns have the same restrictions. I’m not certain about so called “adult” bookstores and the like (don’t know their hours of business) but pretty much anything else is able to be open if the store chooses.

They DO however often have shorter hours, but I don’t believe those are mandated, just habit more than anything.

I never for the life of me understood these laws. Many European cities are deserted on Sundays like the plague took out the entire population. It just doesn’t make any sense that shopping hours are the hours when people are at their jobs. On a Sunday you might need a loaf of bread and would be willing to buy it and a merchant would be willing to sell it to you and satisfy your need but NO! the law prevents such an ugly crime from happening.

It’s still illegal in Texas for a car dealership to be open on consecutive Saturday and Sunday.

>> It’s still illegal in Texas for a car dealership to be open on consecutive Saturday and Sunday

And the logic of that would be… ?

You can now make up your own joke about voting for Dubya.

Probably because Dubya’s been doing so much important stuff, he hasn’t had a chance to legalize it! Ha!

Or maybe it is just so people who work at the car dealerships have the opportunity of enjoying going to a weekend execution over the weekend :slight_smile:

In Taxachusetts, you can’t sell ANY alcohol on Sunday unless you live w/i 10 miles of a state line that does (NH).

Also, tattoo parlors are illegal.

I’m sure there’s more, but I only lived there for two years (thank god).

You can’t buy ANYTHING in Paramus, NJ on Sundays. This town has the strictest Blue Laws I have ever seen. With hundreds of shops and 2 of the largest malls in NJ, the place remains a virtual ghost town on Sundays. Go figure.