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Buy A Car On Sunday? Dealers Say No

Alden Jewell (Flickr/autohistorian)

An Illinois lawmakers is trying to change state law so car dealers can be open on Sundays. But he's facing long odds.

When Sen. Jim Oberweis, from Sugar Grove, learned it was against the law for a car dealer to be open on Sunday, his Republican instincts kicked in.

"Being a business guy, I thought that I would be the hero of the automobile industry by getting this over-reaching government off the backs of car sales," Oberweis said.

There's just one problem with that: the dealers are adamantly opposed.

"All the salespeople, mechanics, dealerships enjoy the law the way it is right now," said Joe McMahon, with the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association. The group represents about 750 dealers across the state.

Oberweis, who shares a name with his family's dairy business, says dealers should be able to make that choice, not have it dictated in state law.

"If I came here and said, 'You know what? Oberweis Dairy would like to be closed on Sundays, but I don't want you to allow Jewel, or Dominick's, or other grocery stores to sell milk on Sundays, so please pass a law to prohibit milk sales on Sundays,' I think you'd laugh at me, but that's essentially what the automobile industry has done," Oberweis said.

But he said in order to get the legislation passed, he thinks he'll need Democrats to join the effort.

After getting a chilly reception from members of the Senate Transportation Committee, Oberweis indicated he's not optimistic about changing the status quo.

Lauren Chooljian of Illinois Public Radio member station WBEZ recently investigated the history of why you can't buy a car on Sunday in Illinois:

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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