This came across the wire and I went, Huh? It seems the folks up in Michigan have a newly changed law that went into effect that limits Sunday vehicle sales. Motorcycle dealers got clarification and it seems Sunday sales of motorcycles are OK, but cars are not. What the heck is going on over there? A law that dates back to 1953 was just changed to crack down on unlicensed car wholesalers.
An update to the state’s Public Act 495 not only continued a longstanding ban on “any attempt to buy, sell trade, or exchange any motor vehicle” on Sunday, but also ratcheted up the punishment, calling for the Secretary of State to strip dealer licenses.
The change was instigated by auto dealers:
The Detroit Automotive Dealers Association lobbied for the new restrictions to limit automotive wholesalers, who did not have to be licensed before the changes.
“This was more of a situation to establish the fact that a person has to have a place of business,” said Robert Thibodeau, president of the Detroit Automotive Dealers Association. “We can’t operate a fly-by-night operation, so we don’t want these people who are trying to wholesale vehicles to be allowed to potentially get in the consumer stream and set up shop on a corner and then all of a sudden can’t be found.”
Years ago, there used to be laws all over, “Blue Laws,” that prohibited Sunday sales. These laws had nothing to do with wholesalers or anything else, they were strictly related to religious belief. I had assumed these laws were pretty much off the books but here it seems they’re alive and well. The Detroit Automotive Dealers Association should be ashamed of themselves for using an old law like this. If there is a problem with unlicensed wholesalers then you go after unlicensed wholesalers. You don’t lobby to modify an old law based on religion for your own purposes.
So how many of these laws still exist? From the news article it seems this is a long standing ban. Everyone is tip-toeing around this saying motorcycles weren’t supposed to be included and some dealers hadn’t taken a position on the changes. What everyone should be saying is this is a ridiculous law and needs to be dropped entirely. One motorcycle dealer official said it’s government interference in free enterprise, and he is absolutely correct, but it’s also government law enforcing a behavior based on religion. Michigan needs a wakeup call. Any dealer that wishes to remain closed on Sunday due to their own beliefs is certainly free to do so, laws that require dealers to remain closed are absurd.