Petitioners aiming to repeal North Dakota’s blue law say they are changing tactics.

“I want to be crystal clear. This is far from over,” organizer Brandon Medenwald said in an email.

North Dakota Open on Sundays will shift from collecting signatures for an initiated measure to pushing for reintroduction of a bill during the 2019 legislative session to repeal laws banning certain businesses from opening before noon on Sundays.

“While we gathered an estimated 5,000 signatures, the volunteer effort required to gather 15,000 more in the next five months would be a big lift,” Medenwald said.

The legislation was defeated 22-25 in the state Senate last session but Medenwald said two of those legislators who voted against it are retiring. A third is running for U.S. Senate.

“The people of North Dakota will be voting on the Blue Law repeal this November, but instead of voting for a measure they will be voting for their representatives,” Medenwald said. “The goal will be to educate and shine a light on candidates and where they stand on the Blue Law. Do they support freedom and flexibility for North Dakota businesses and families, or do they support the 1889 Swiss cheese law that few understand and is unenforceable?”

Medenwald said gathering signatures raised visibility on the issue but as political campaigns ramp up, volunteers collecting signatures have other engagements. In the coming weeks, North Dakota Open on Sundays will announce more on its plan for repeal.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com

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