Highland residents try for Sunday work restrictions

Highland Utah Sunday, April 22, 2012. The City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to do away with an ordinance that has been on the books since 2000 that requires most businesses to be closed on Sundays. The issue will be voted on by the public to see if they want it continued. Photo: Scott G. Winterton

HIGHLAND—Some residents in Highland want the city to block businesses from operating on Sunday after officials overturned the restrictions.

The petition began after the Highland City Council voted 3-2 in April to allow business to open on Sunday. Now petitioners want the decision to come to voters on the November ballot.

Petitioners have gathered 2,200 signatures. The city requires 889.

Mann says he and other petitioners would rather pay more in taxes than see stores open on Sunday. Young, low-wage workers will now have to choose between job or compromising religious beliefs of not working on Sunday, he said.

“The ones that want Sunday closing are the ones that moved here because of the way it was,” Mann told the Deseret News. “They’re the ones interested in keeping it a bedroom community rather than a commercial center. Most people who signed the petition like it the way it is.”

Mann recognized opponents to the Sunday restrictions in his post while addressing common concerns like constitutionality and a separation of church and state.

“First of all, Highland is not forcing anyone to not shop on Sundays,” Mann said on his blog post. “Secondly, society and government do impose values on citizens every day. Our entire criminal code is based on values and much of our civil code as well.”

Jeremy Lyman, director of the Center for Private Property for Libertas Insitute, is one such opponent.

The Libertas Institute is a Utah organization aiming “to advance the cause of liberty within the State of Utah by supporting and defending individual liberty, private property and free enterprise,” according to the group’s website.

Lyman spoke out against the restrictions in a recent blog post, arguing the Council’s vote “supports private property rights on many levels.”

“The most fundamental private property right is the right to control one’s own body, and as an extension of that, control one’s own actions,” Lyman said in his post. “If an individual owns and operates a business in Highland, restricting his right to use his property on Sunday is a violation of that fundamental right.”

Those who support Sunday restrictions people “who value a common day of rest and believe it benefits the community as a whole,” Mann said in his post.

“Should [residents] be forced to strike down an ordinance that supports their values because a few may be ‘offended’?” Mann said on his blog. “When did standing up for values become a vice rather than a virtue?  Residents who wish to shop have plenty of nearby choices.”

EMAIL: jferguson@desnews.com
TWITTER: @joeyferguson

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One comment

  1. Victoria J

    Staying closed on Sundays is not about religious values necessarily, its about having one, 1, quiet day. If you really have to shop go to a neighboring community. Its only 1 day.

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