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New Bill to Reverse Iowa’s Sunday ‘Blue Laws’

Don Strolo owns RV lots in several states across the country. But Iowa is the only one that forces him to keep the doors closed on Sundays.

This story by Kevin Hardy originally appeared in the Des Moines Register.

The state has long banned retail automobile sales on Sunday. And that law includes the motorhomes Strolo sells at Des Moines RV on Southeast 14th St.

He’s backing a change in state law that would open up Sunday RV sales. He said the business is seasonal, with most sales occurring in warmer months. That makes every day count for his sales staff.

And he said camper and motorhome customers will drive great lengths to shop, putting his Iowa lot at a competitive disadvantage.

Senate Study Bill 3139 would allow Sunday RV sales, but maintain the state’s ban on automobile sales. In addition to Iowa, 17 other states – including Missouri, Minnesota and Illinois – ban or restrict Sunday vehicle sales, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Though it proposes no changes for car dealerships, the Iowa Automobile Dealers Association has registered in opposition to the bill.

Bruce Anderson, president of the association, said the law banning Sunday sales is not among so-called “blue laws” that ban certain commercial activities based on religious beliefs about the Sabbath.

He said Sunday sales could pose a consumer protection issue: if car lots were open on Sundays, they might agree to a deal, only to find out on Monday that a customer didn’t qualify for the agreed-upon terms, Anderson said.

The association represents the state’s 300 new car dealerships. And Anderson said they don’t want to see a change in the law for car or RV dealers.

Deputy Attorney General Nathan Blake said Sunday sales would not pose any additional risks for consumers.

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