PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Once upon a time, “blue laws” in Pennsylvania prohibited merchandise from being sold on Sunday.
Today, everything gets sold on Sunday, including liquor, with one big exception.
“We prohibit selling cars on a Sunday, but some of our bordering states don’t,” says Pennsylvania Sen. Camera Bartolotta, a Washington County Republican.
Pennsylvania is one of only 17 states left that prohibits auto sales on Sunday.
Sen. Bartolotta has co-sponsored a bill to change that.
“We’re going to allow dealers to open on Sundays, if they so choose. No one’s mandating it, but there shouldn’t be a law against running your business on a Sunday,” she says.
Sen. Bartolotta says local dealers are losing out to those in Ohio and West Virginia who permit Sunday sales, and working families have a hard time car-shopping on weekdays.
“Not a lot of people have hours during the day to do that, and after work sometimes our schedules are really filled,” she said.
You’d think the chance to sell automobiles to a lot of people on Sunday would be really appealing to auto dealers.
Well, it turns out that many of them don’t like the idea.
“Our dealers and most dealers in the state really don’t want Sunday sales,” says John Putzier, the CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Auto Dealers Association.
Putzier says it costs dealers money to open up and it doesn’t result in any more sales.
“When you have gone to seven-day sales you don’t sell any more cars than you do in six-days. Our dealers need a day of rest, too,” he said.
But why not let dealers decide for themselves whether to open?
“As soon as one dealer is open on Sunday, they are all going to feel they have to be open so it’s better for everyone, at least in the opinion of our dealers, to just stay closed on Sunday,” says Putzier.