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State's Sunday closing blue law safe after 3 Illinois bills falter

April 24, 2015
Three bills attempting to undo Illinois’s 31-year-old ban on Sunday vehicle sales all stalled in committee April 21, effectively stopping the legislation during the state legislature’s spring session.
According to the General Assembly’s schedule, the bills would have had to win three successive votes in the Senate and pass to the House by April 24. No vote was taken on any of the measures. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn May 31.
Senate Bill 1780, the most far-reaching of the three proposals, would lift Illinois’s blue law that prohibits new- and used-vehicle sales on Sundays. SB 1835 would allow for the sale of motor vehicles by licensed dealers for not more than two hours on Sundays. And SB 1706 would permit Sunday sales of motor vehicles if the licensed dealer is a person who observes religious worship on a day other than Sunday.
Illinois Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), who introduced all three of the current proposals, also introduced legislation last year to open dealerships on Sundays, but that effort similarly faltered.
CATA Chairman Colin Wickstrom, who spoke at the April 21 committee hearing, said the dealer industry advocated for the Sunday blue law in the 1980s in order to attract quality salespeople who wanted to spend Sundays with their families. Consumers, Wickstrom added, never complain about the Sunday closing.
"Consumers actually enjoy looking around our lots on Sundays, at their leisure and without any pressure," he said.
Wickstrom added that because more than 84 percent of new-car purchases now involve financing from banks that are closed Sundays, the law is more important today than when it was enacted.
Desmond Roberts, president of Advantage Chevrolet Hodgkins and Bolingbrook and a director of the National Automobile Dealers Association, also spoke at the hearing in support of the state’s Sunday closing law.