A group of Bergen County residents who want to repeal the county's Blue Laws have secured the 2,500 signatures they need to get a referendum on the ballot in November.
The group, called Modernize Bergen County, began
gathering signatures for their petition earlier this year after then-Westwood resident Rosemary Shashoua was inspired by Gov. Chris Christie's order to
suspend the laws following Hurricane Sandy.
The group plans to file their petitions in early September and will continue gathering extra signatures until then, according to Shashoua.
The Blue Laws issue has been debated by other county residents who want to keep the laws. Even if the referendum is successful, some stores in retail-heavy Paramus will likely have to remain shut on Sundays because the town has its own additional Blue Laws.
Those who support keeping the laws have said they want to have a peaceful day with less traffic and let retail employees have a day off, while those who want to repeal the laws have argued an extra day of sales each week could help struggling businesses.
Previous referendums to repeal the laws were defeated 192,394 to 157,648 in 1980 and 185,821 to 105,040 in 1993, but Amy Margolin, a volunteer with Modernize Bergen County, said she believed this time could be different.
"No one else in the country lives this way anymore," Margolin said. "It's not normal to have laws like that. It's absolutely bizarre."
Shashoua said she hoped that a state bill which would allow car sales on Sundays across New Jersey would also bring in more support for the Bergen County issue.
Anyone who does want to sign the petition
can find a copy here and mail it to Modernize Bergen County, P.O. Box 1247, Hackensack, NJ 07602.