News 12 at 6 o'clock, June 22, 2007
AIKEN, S.C.---Lawmakers in South Carolina have put a temporary end to an age old debate. This week they voted to get rid of the state's blue laws that keep you from buying non-essential items before 1:30 p.m.
Stephanie Bates, the manager of Crystal Engraves of Aiken, feels it should be a personal decision to shop when you want, not the government's, especially when it affects her bottom line. "The more you're open for the consumer, the more they're going to use you," she said.
Under the existing law, only counties earning $900,000 or more a year in accommodations tax revenue are exempt from the blue laws. But starting July 1st that will drop to just $900 a year, so all retail stores will be allowed to open their doors early on Sundays.
It's a move the Aiken County Council rejected last December.
"We're in an economy today where we have to offer people choices or they go somewhere else," said Council Member Chuck Smith.
But not all retailers support the change. Danny Minolfo says their customers at Lionel Smith, Ltd. have been around for years and know not to come on Sundays. "If we did change our hours, we'd probably only open one hour earlier, so an hour is not gonna make or break our business," he said.
The resolution was passed with a 90-13 vote in the House and a 43-0 vote in the Senate and now awaits the Governor's approval.