Council vote favors ending blue laws in Lexington County

By Tim Pulliam - email

LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - The Lexington County Council has voted unanimously to suspend blue laws.

Leaders made a landmark decision to change blue laws Thursday night. The rule kept retail stores from opening early on Sundays. It also limited what you could buy before 1:30pm.

The decision is one many neighbors in Lexington County say they've have hoped for, but there are still some who have their reservations about making the change.

There wasn't a big crowd as the county council voted on one of the most controversial issues in Lexington County, blue laws. It's an issue that divided half the room, many of whom were pastors.

Those who like blue laws say getting rid of them will keep people from going to church and living moral lives. One man went as far as quoting a bible verse. "These people draw now to me with their lips, but their heart is far from me," he stated.

"Enough, we need a break," says another, "We need a day of rest."

"God is America's king," a third spoke out, "So I ask you who is America's king, god or money?"

Those for the change say it will attract more jobs to the area.

"My position is very, very simple," says a proponent of the change, "I have hungry people in my congregation and community-- have people without jobs in my congregation and community."

All nine council members say blue laws were complicated, outdated and hindered economic growth. "Now there are choices for the people in Lexington County that they might not have had prior," says council member Kim Kinard.

The change goes into effect immediately, but employees who want to go to church on Sundays are still protected by state law to do so.

For now, stores like Walmart and Target in Lexington County say they will conduct business as usual. Columbiana Mall says it will change it's Sunday hours to noon starting next year.

The blue law change does not affect beer, wine and alcohol.

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