Bill that would allow Sunday car sales is 'dead for this year'

News-DemocratApril 2, 2014 

Metro-east car dealers say they doubt that an effort to allow Sunday sales of automobiles in Illinois will gain much traction.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, filed a bill that would lift Illinois' ban on Sunday car sales. The ban is part of a state law that was supported by car dealers and took effect in 1983.

Oberweis' bill to lift the ban is opposed by the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association and is mired in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Liz Brockland, of Bob Brockland Buick-GMC in Cahokia, said the IADA informed its members that the bill is "dead for this year."

Charlie Meyer, of Meyer Honda in O'Fallon, also pointed to a legislative update that the dealer association sent to members, which says Oberweis has "little support from fellow committee members" on the bill, and that "his attempt to send the bill to a more favorable committee was also denied."

The IADA legislative update states "hopefully, this issue will be put to rest for the foreseeable future."

Larry Wehmeyer, vice president and general manager at Cassens Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Glen Carbon, said Illinois lawmakers have more pressing issues, such as pension reform and the state debt.

"I would be against it," Wehmeyer said, adding that he feels it's important for employees to "have the Sabbath as a day of rest."

Oberweis asked the Federal Trade Commission for an opinion on whether the Sunday ban on car sales is harmful to consumers. The agency said the ban isn't good for competition and makes it more difficult for drivers to shop around for the best deal.

Missouri also bans car sales on Sundays.

Auto dealers who violate Illinois' Sunday sales ban face a $1,500 fine. An effort to repeal the ban in 1987 was defeated in a state Senate committee.

Contact reporter Brian Brueggemann at bbrueggemann@bnd.com or 618-239-2511.

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