Senator Jim Oberweis is renewing his efforts to allow consumers to buy a car on Sunday in Illinois for the first time in 32 years.
“Since 1983, automobile dealerships in Illinois have not been allowed to sell vehicles on Sunday under penalty of a $1,500 fine. Thirty-four states already allow vehicle sales on Sundays, and these business owners in Illinois should be free to choose whether they wish to be open or closed on Sundays,” Senator Oberweis said. “We should never allow government to be used to prevent competition in an industry as has been the case here.”
The 25th District Senator has introduced Senate Bill 1780 to repeal the 32-year prohibition that has prevented Illinois consumers from being able to buy cars on Sundays. He filed similar legislation in December 2013, which was allowed a “subject-matter-only” committee hearing in the Senate. In March 2014, a Federal Trade Commission analysis determined that such legislation would “provide significant benefits for Illinois consumers.”
The Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Policy Planning Bureau of Competition/Bureau of Economics analyzed Senator Oberweis’ proposal and sent its findings in a letter dated March 26, 2104. The letter’s conclusion states, in part,
“Repealing the Sunday sales ban would ensure that the competitive process, not legislative directive, determines auto dealers’ hours of operation and the availability of other related services. The current law makes it more difficult for Illinois consumers to comparison shop and raises their search costs, which may lead to higher prices, less favorable terms of sale and lease, reduced output of sales and service, and a market that is unresponsive to consumer preferences.”
Senator Oberweis has also introduced legislation this spring that would allow religious choice in business decisions.
Senate Bill 1706 would allow auto dealers to sell cars on Sundays if the dealer is a person who observes a religious day of worship other than Sunday. Those dealers would then be closed on their day of worship, so they would still be open only six days per week. This is similar to legislation that passed in Wisconsin.
Both Senate Bill 1780 and Senate Bill 1706 are awaiting assignment to a Senate Committee, where they can be posted for a public hearing on the issue. Senator Oberweis is encouraging consumers to contact their state legislators and voice their support for the legislation.
An informal media poll on Nov. 22, 2013, by a Chicago Tribune columnist, took a look at the proposal to end the ban on Sunday car sales, pointing out that consumers want the change and would benefit saying, “Welcome, at last, to modern commerce. You know why competitive reasons will force car dealers to open on Sundays? Because a lot of people are off work on Sundays and free to go shopping for cars!”
The blog by Eric Zorn also asked readers: Should Illinois law continue to forbid car dealers from being open on Sundays? These most recent results posted: Yes: 39.83%; No: 60.17%.