* WBEZ’s Lauren Chooljian traces the origins of Illinois’ Sunday car sales ban…
The state’s Sunday auto sales ban is one of many state-level blue laws, which — as a category — prohibit certain secular activities on Sundays. The ban first made its way through the Illinois legislature in 1951. Dealers wanted to allow a day off, but any single dealership couldn’t close its doors while competitors stayed open. Legislators agreed to a mandatory day off and passed a bill to make it happen, but the story got complicated as soon as the bill hit Governor Adlai Stevenson’s desk.
Stevenson’s Attorney General, Ivan A. Elliott, encouraged the governor to veto the bill, saying it likely violated the Illinois Constitution “as an interference with the right of an individual to pursue any trade or occupation which is not injurious to the public or a menace to the safety or welfare of society.”
Stevenson heeded the AG’s word, and vetoed Senate Bill 504.
“If such a restriction on Sunday trade is sound for automobiles, why should it not be extended to newspapers, groceries, ice cream cones and other harmless commercial transactions?” Stevenson wrote in a veto message. “Carried to its logical extreme, any business group with sufficient influence in the legislature can dictate the hours of business of its competitors. And if hours, why not prices?”
Go read the whole thing. I learned quite a lot from this piece.