Car Lots, Liquors Sales Still Crimped By Old Laws

Car dealerships in Texas can only be open one day over a weekend – Saturday or Sunday, but not both.

The curious policy is rooted in the same reason that you can’t buy liquor on Sundays. The limits are the last remnants of so-called “blue laws” in Texas.

The blue laws were based on religious grounds -- to stop people from doing certain things on the Sabbath.

Most of them were repealed by the Texas Legislature in 1985 -- in fact, before then, Texans were forbidden from buying pots, pans and washing machines on Sundays – but cars and liquor sales are still largely governed by Scripture-based law.

KTRH Car Pro Jerry Reynolds, a former dealership owner who now helps listeners get good deals on cars, says he doesn’t mind the “Saturday-or-Sunday, but-not-both” law about car lots.

“I’ve never heard a customer complain about it, either,” he tells Newsradio 740 KTRH.

It’s not as if some people haven’t  tried to change things.

Even Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis had attempted, during his two-decade-long career in the Texas Senate, to pass legislation to reduce or remove the scope of the Sunday liquor law as a convenience to consumers.

The Texas Automobile Dealers Association has stated publicly that it prefers the current policy, saying that it works for both the dealers and the customers. It told the Texas Tribune that dealerships would feel compelled to open seven days if the restriction was lifted.

Being open seven days drives up costs – and Reynolds says additional costs are passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Also, the Texas Package Stores Association has said there has been no demand to be open on Sundays – and has told the Texas Tribune that Sunday sales would simply spread six days’ worth of sales over seven days.

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