September 20, 2014

Bill in legislature would prohibit retail stores from being open Thanksgiving Day (AUDIO)

Christmas shopping starts earlier each year and one state Represenative says he’s had enough.

Representative Jeff Roorda, a Democrat from South of St. Louis, has pre-filed a bill he’s calling the Thanksgiving Family Protection Act. The bill would prevent retail businesses from being open on Thanksgiving. He says he makes an exception for certain businesses, including gas stations, pharmacies and restaurants.

He says those essential businesses should be able to stay open to meet people’s basic needs, but that “Thanksgiving is not Black Friday Eve,” and families should not be forced to give up their time together to satisfy “corporate greed.”

Target, Kohl’s, K-Mart, Gap, Toys R Us and other retailers were the focus of media attention a few weeks ago when angry Target workers protested having to work on Thanksgiving night. Roorda says that’s what prompted him to file the bill.

Associated Industries of Missouri has already come out against the measure, saying it’s a business managers’ right to open doors when they want to, and that the bill is in conflict with free-market business.

“While well-intentioned, House Bill 37 strays away from the free-market business approach supported by Associated Industries of Missouri,” Ray McCarty, president of AIM, said in a press release. “Sales revenues were up 12.8 percent in 2012 compared to last year. Although AIM supports pro-family businesses, it is the business managers’ right to open doors when they want to.”

Roorda points out that some states in New England, including Connecticut and Massachusettes, already have a similar law in place.

AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports (1:17)