Anti-Blue Law Group Has Enough Signatures For November Ballot

"Modernize Bergen County" has gathered 2,500 signatures to get a referendum in front of voters this November.

Members of Modernize Bergen County. Photo submitted.
Members of Modernize Bergen County. Photo submitted.

by Jim Leggate 

A group of Bergen County residents who want to repeal the county's Blue Laws have secured the 2,500 signatures they need to get a referendum on the ballot in November.

The group, called Modernize Bergen County, began gathering signatures for their petition earlier this year after then-Westwood resident Rosemary Shashoua was inspired by Gov. Chris Christie's order to suspend the laws following Hurricane Sandy.

The group plans to file their petitions in early September and will continue gathering extra signatures until then, according to Shashoua.

Modernize Bergen County netted about 400 signatures at Teaneck’s Memorial Day celebration on Cedar Lane.

"It was fishing in a stocked pond," Shashoua said after the Teaneck event.

The Blue Laws issue has been debated by other county residents who want to keep the laws. Even if the referendum is successful, some stores in retail-heavy Paramus will likely have to remain shut on Sundays because the town has its own additional Blue Laws.

Those who support keeping the laws have said they want to have a peaceful day with less traffic and let retail employees have a day off, while those who want to repeal the laws have argued an extra day of sales each week could help struggling businesses.

Blue Laws supporters have said the mandatory closures give Bergen County residents a break from traffic and crowds.

Previous referendums to repeal the laws were defeated 192,394 to 157,648 in 1980 and 185,821 to 105,040 in 1993, but Amy Margolin, a volunteer with Modernize Bergen County, said she believed this time could be different.

delgado August 23, 2013 at 07:44 AM
They have enough votes for a non binding referendum and with the terrible scandal behind the pro Sunday shopping American dream strip mall the county executive will never allow a referendum on the ballot... These Canadians should stop interfering in American elections.
Sophie's Mom August 23, 2013 at 09:56 AM
Keep Blue Law! I love our quiet Sundays in the Paramus area!
Bill Denninger August 23, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Those of us who work retail hope for a Paramus assignment not only for the fantastic sales volume (invreased sales means increased bonus) but (don't tell my superiors) for the opportunity to have a guaranteed weekend day off for ourselves
Esther Sandrof August 23, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Sophie's Mom - you have nothing to worry about. Paramus has separate blue laws that will not be affected even if the Sunday shopping restrictions are lifted for the county. Therefore, people in Paramus can have their quiet Sundays while people in other towns will be able to shop on their Main Streets. It's a win-win situation for everybody.
zizi August 24, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Yeah..... Paramus... don't worry... your local laws will protect you..... Let others enjoy some of those almighty green backs.... for a change......
LAWoman August 25, 2013 at 11:19 AM
We will come out in DROVES to stop this! Blue Laws help the police, less accidents, less kids driving. Keep the stores closed, it's the lord's day and I don't want those New Yorker's coming in to our towns to avoid taxes! Paramus produces more than enough revenue we need to focus on lowering taxes and this will not be the source! We also need to stop texting and driving...that will save lives. The Blue Law lifting will only put another fur coat on my back, not needed!!! I will fight this til the end!
Francis Lehane August 25, 2013 at 02:04 PM
How many times do we have to have a referendum on this until the entire Bergen County is taken over by the 3rd world idiots in Union and Hudson county
delgado August 25, 2013 at 09:04 PM
This special interest group just wants to make more money for there clients, the American Dream shopping mall.
William Mays August 25, 2013 at 11:47 PM
LAWoman, not sure if you know how to read or not, but this would not lift the Blue Laws from any town, it would simply give them the ability to lift them if they wish.
Esther Sandrof August 26, 2013 at 07:36 AM
Paramus and all of the malls would be exempt and therefore closed on Sundays. People in Paramus have nothing to worry about. It's win-win all around.
Orthowatch August 26, 2013 at 08:49 AM
LAWoman, I understand your arguments (although I disagree) until you said "It's the Lord's day". If you're going to make this about religion, there's no way you'll ever win the argument!
LAWoman August 26, 2013 at 10:16 AM
Ortho-in in order to make an argument, you need to present all possible positions. And I'm sure that religion is part of it for some, although not me since I'm a Jew! And Mays, I do not want ANY store under the Blue Law umbrella to be able to be open, can you understand that or should you consult with the little martyr sitting on your shoulder?!
Cathy Mulder August 27, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Vote NO! to get rid of the blue law on Sunday shopping. Any Bergen County resident knows quite well how long and hard it takes to drive from place to place on any Saturday! Not only that, those wonderful retail workers, mostly women, will need to find child care on a Sunday for their kids--almost impossible except for lots of $$$. Let's not even discuss the extra pollution from all the emissions from the extra cars! While I empathize for those who work a regular M-F schedule, and/or work on Saturdays--because I do too--this is only a ploy to get low wage workers doing more, or losing their jobs or kids because of no child care, but moreover to increase the profits of a few, I wonder if WalMart has something to do with this, in that it (they) are planning on opening a store in Teterboro, where there are limited or no taxes, and I believe a population of less than 60 people (no typo here). More to come......
Larry August 27, 2013 at 08:03 AM
FINALLY! A chance to remove these Blue Laws! First remove them from the county, then individual towns. If you choose not to shop on any specific day, that's free choice.
Orthowatch August 27, 2013 at 08:04 AM
Cathy: the traffic issues come mostly from the malls along Route 4 in Paramus. As was noted here many times, even if this referendum passes, Paramus has its own Blue Laws, and could make the malls stay closed. If you're worried about the pollution, look at it this way - people driving locally give off less pollution than people driving up to Nyack to the Palisades Mall or down to Elizabeth to Jersey Gardens. As for retail workers, it shouldn't be hard to find plenty of teens/college students looking for some weekend work to fill the spots of single parents who can't work on Sundays. In this economy, let's take any extra jobs we can get!
JJ September 01, 2013 at 01:59 PM
if you want to shop for clothing on Sunday. Go on a little venture, The NY WATERWAYS IS A BEAUTIFUL WAY TO SEE NYC, GO AHEAD SPEND THE DAY, YOU'LL BE GLAD YOU DID TAKE A FRIEND ! OR go to Hudson county ! ESSEX COUNTY, Clifton NJ is 20 minutes from most towns in Bergen county , BE ADVENTURIST, Leave BERGEN COUNTY ALONE, READ MY LIPS ?????
William Mays September 01, 2013 at 03:57 PM
Why should Bergen County be left alone? Why should we have to go to other counties when we have so many stores in our county?
delgado September 02, 2013 at 07:46 AM
Bergen taxpayers should not be manipulated by a money making Canadian mall corp. ..... This group is unAmerican, they are using the ballot process so a foreign corp. can make more money for their govt subsized mall.
JJ September 05, 2013 at 08:38 AM
WILLIE HAYS, Were you born & raised in Bergen county or Just a newbie Transplant from another area ? Quality of life ? That doesn't mean being able to shop 7 days a week ? If you need that go on line That was just another reason you can shop 24 /7 day or night ? Maybe your just a hand full of people that doesn't care about money ? NOT ALL OF US LIVING HERE IN BERGEN COUNTY CAN AFFORD THE OVERLY PRICED TAX'S OF BASICALLY EVERY THING, But hey my whole family, Has stayed here, Not like most people , moved on mostly to Florida,Where in most parts is much cheaper to live.I LOVE BERGEN COUNTY, LIVE , WORK PLAY.MONDAY - SATURDAY/ SUNDAY IS THE ONE DAY OF REST WE ALL LOOK FORWARD FOR EITHER A FARMERS MARKET, OR IN SEASON GO TO THE BEACH, OR JUST HANGING AROUND THE HOUSE ?NOT FOR SHOPPING !
William Mays September 05, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Lived in Fort Lee by whole life. I don't see your logic about "overly priced taxes". You do realize that sales taxes are in effect every day right? If you want rest, stay in your house or go to a damn farmers market like you want to. That doesn't mean I shouldn't be able to go shopping if I want to.


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