blue laws


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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.
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 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.
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, 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
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 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 Although much of this legislation has been softened if not repealed, there are still many areas and communities in the United States, especially those where religious fundamentalism is strong, that retain blue laws.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.
The newspaper noted that over the past two years, Alabama, Kentucky, New York, Rhode Island and Washington have altered blue laws or given local governments greater ability to do so.
According to the Court, however, there simply were no alternatives that would adequately accomplish the legitimate state purposes served by the blue laws.
Yet, I doubt that our representatives and senators, controlled either by Democrats or Republicans, have the courage to repeal the Blue Laws.
Shorter workdays became more important than rest on Sunday, and American courts and society found practically any commercial activity to be a necessity and thus exempt from blue laws.
Just as the repeals of the Blue Laws likely led to the addition of part-time jobs to cover Sundays, average weekly hours also would have been affected by the steady proliferation throughout the United States of shopping malls, with their numerous stores remaining open longer hours throughout the week than had been the case in earlier years.
Blue Laws, who had been making ground steadily throughout the final mile, went by on the outside and then, in a great run to the line, resisted the spirited challenge of The Hobbit by what looked less than the official two and a half lengths.
A few key examples are more states overturning blue laws, allowing tastings in retail stores, setting up growler stations and direct-to-consumer shipping.
Local governments enforce blue laws, install red-light cameras, and decide which businesses can operate as well as where and when.
The municipality is subject to Bergen County's legendary blue laws, legislation mandating that stores stay closed on Sundays, and has competition from the Palisades Center in West Nyack, N.
We are all familiar with the positive trends affecting wine and spirits sales, but they are worth noting here: the increasing cultural acceptance of moderate beverage alcohol consumption as a potential health benefit; the continuation of a thriving cocktail culture; more product access, with the liberalizing of archaic blue laws nationwide, especially the growth of Sunday sales; a more spirits- and wine-savvy public, responding to increasing efforts on product education from retailers, restaurateurs, distributors, suppliers and the media; and a general modernization of retail outlets, as they focus on making beverage alcohol shopping a more enjoyable and less intimidating experience, especially for women.
Other successful retail markets in the state include the Route 23 corridor from Wayne to Butler because of its proximity to 1-287 and the growing housing market; the Route 3 corridor in Clifton because of its seven-day-a-week commuter traffic which heavily draws the Bergen County customer who can't shop on Sundays due to the blue laws, and the Monmouth and Ocean County markets because of their growing population, region-wide lower housing costs and convenient highway accessibility.