blue laws

(redirected from blue law)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Wikipedia.

blue laws,

legislation regulating public and private conduct, especially laws relating to Sabbath observance. The term was originally applied to the 17th-century laws of the theocratic New Haven colony, and appears to originate in A General History of Connecticut (London, 1781), by the Loyalist Anglican clergyman Samuel A. Peters, who had lived in Hebron, Conn. New Haven and other Puritan colonies of New England had rigid laws prohibiting Sabbath breaking, breaches in family discipline, drunkenness, and excesses in dress. Although such legislation had its origins in European SabbatarianSabbatarians,
persons who insist upon strict observance of Sunday as the Sabbath. Societies promoting Sabbatarian objectives include the Lord's Day Alliance of the United States and the Lord's Day Observance Society in England.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and sumptuary lawssumptuary laws
, regulations based on social, religious, or moral grounds directed against overindulgence of luxury in diet and drink and extravagance in dress and mode of living.
..... Click the link for more information.
, the term "blue laws" is usually applied only to American legislation. With the dissolution of the Puritan theocracies after the American Revolution, blue laws declined; many of them lay forgotten in state statute books only to be revived much later. The growth of the prohibitionprohibition,
legal prevention of the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages, the extreme of the regulatory liquor laws. The modern movement for prohibition had its main growth in the United States and developed largely as a result of the agitation of
..... Click the link for more information.
 movement in the 19th cent. and early 20th cent. brought with it other laws regulating private conduct. Many states forbade the sale of cigarettes, and laws prohibited secular amusements as well as all unnecessary work on Sunday; provision was made for strict local censorship of books, plays, films and other means of instruction and entertainment. Although much of this legislation has been softened if not repealed, there are still many areas and communities in the United States, especially those where religious fundamentalism is strong, that retain blue laws. The Supreme Court has upheld Sunday closing laws ruling that such laws do not interfere with the free exercise of religion and do not constitute the establishment of a state religion.

blue laws

restrict personal action to improve community morality. [Am. Hist.: Hart, 87]
References in periodicals archive ?
The first clause of the amendment that "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion," seemed to indicate that the blue laws would soon be repealed in favor of more Sabbath-friendly legislation.
For the first time in more than a century, there were no statewide blue laws.
March 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Diageo, the world's leading spirits, wine and beer company, and industry leader, applauds Governor Mike Beebe and the state legislature for joining the national trend of modernizing Blue Laws.
Despite planning ahead, party hosts will inevitably forget something," said David Wojnar, vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council, whose organization has aggressively supported legislation to roll back Blue Laws in many states across the country.
Town Clerk Nancy Talbot said she had never heard of such a thing and contacted Police Chief Dennis Healey, who said the blue laws did not apply.
Many blue laws have been eased over the years, but in Minnesota--and 13 other states--buying a car is still a no-no on Sundays.
Drawing on the history of Blue Laws and Prohibition, Yandle noted that public policies tend to be supported by "bootleggers," who saw their incomes increase as a result of a particular policy (as bootleggers did under Prohibition and under Blue Laws), and "Baptists," who supported public policies for moral reasons (Baptists tended to support prohibition and Blue Laws because they believed that alcohol was evil).
Even today, remnants of the old Blue Laws still influence state legislation in Massachusetts and elsewhere.
Opponents] say the increase in sales would be marginal, but when we look at what happens in other states that repealed blue laws, we see the opposite happens," Gray said.
Lui et quelques autres "radicaux" du corps professoral y avaient lance un cine-club universitaire dans une salle de cinema avoisinante, afin de contourner les blue laws (lois bleues) dominicales.
The research by a Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researcher, together with a researcher from De-Paul University, also reveals that when Sunday blue laws are repealed, women who choose secular activities, such as shopping, are not happier.
Shulevitz isn't calling for the return of blue laws.