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May 3, 2017

House votes to allow small grocers to open on holidays

Maine's House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow small grocery stores to open on holidays, skirting long-time blue laws.

The Bangor Daily News reports that the bill would allow grocers of 5,000 to 10,000 square feet to open on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The bill would allow cities and towns regulate the store openings.

State Rep. James Gillway, R-Searsport, told the BDN it seemed unfair that local markets were closed on holidays while national retailers like McDonald's and Rite Aid were open.

The bill, which passed the House vote by 79-66, now goes before a Senate vote.

The vote comes in a week when blue laws in Richmond are getting national attention. Residents there are trying to get a measure on the ballot that would eliminate once and for all a law against restaurants serving alcohol on Sundays. Residents that thought they'd repealed the law in 2005 but recently Town Manager Janet Smith said the earlier repeal didn't meet the standard set by state statutes, the Associated Press reported.

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