By Martin Schlegel
Two bills, one in North Dakota and the other in Minnesota, could bring major changes to the Fargo-Moorhead community.
These two bills address issues that have been debated in each state’s respective congresses for years.
Both bills are presumed to be signed by the states’ respective governors, meaning Minnesota could feature liquor sales on Sundays as early as this summer, and North Dakota could install parking meters in as little as three months after its bill is signed.
In Minnesota, the House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would end the state’s ban on Sunday liquor sales. This ban has been in effect since Minnesota became a state in 1858.
The Minnesota bill will be debated and possibly voted on this week by the Senate.
As someone who is a Minnesota resident and is able to purchase alcohol, I’m a supporter of the Sunday liquor bill.
Most of the general shopping and purchasing I do is on Saturdays or Sundays. To outsiders, the bill doesn’t seem like it would change much, but think of Sunday liquor sales in the same light as businesses not opening until noon on Sundays in North Dakota.
The clear, easy solution is to remember to buy any alcohol on Saturday; however, having the ability to buy liquor on Sundays makes life for Minnesotans much easier.
Besides the new purchasing power, the bill also separates the church from the government. I believe the government should not make or enforce any laws that favor a particular religion.
The ban is one of the Blue Laws, which were enacted to ban “moral offenses”and to give workers Sundays off, thus respecting the Christian Sabbath.
The goal of outlawing Sunday liquor sales was to prohibit drinking on the Christian Sabbath. Clearly, there is religious favoritism with the ban of Sunday liquor sales.
As for North Dakota, Bill 2247, which has passed through the North Dakota Senate, would repeal of a section of state law that bans parking meters throughout the state. The bill was introduced by Sen. Jessica Unruh, a Republican representing Beulah, North Dakota.
The state-wide ban on parking meters has been in effect since 1948, when a man paid to park at a meter in Minot but received a parking ticket because the meter malfunctioned.
The bill will need to pass through the North Dakota House of Representatives, before the being sent to the governor.
I understand that the technology of parking meters has vastly improved since 1948, but I do not fully support this bill.
Fargo City planner Derrick LaPoint told Valley News Live, “Numerous businesses have secured spots for their employee. If parking meters were added, they could set them up so the first 30 minutes or hour is still free for people.”
If the city offers free parking on metered spots, then why install a meter to begin with? The city already has free parking. What would make people want to pay to park instead of pay nothing?
Apparently it’s to pay, over time, more money than a one-time parking ticket.
“Typically what you pay in a parking meter is less than what you would pay if you get a $15 parking ticket,” Fargo resident Mark Weiler said in a WDAY news report.
This logic seems flawed.
If people are really upset about getting a parking ticket in a 90-minute parking zone, then locate the nearest four hour parking. I’d much rather park and enjoy my time in downtown Fargo than be under a time crunch, worrying about getting a ticket.
Likewise, I’d rather park for free in Fargo after purchasing some liquor from Moorhead on a Sunday.