New Mo. Bill Could Force Stores to Close On Holidays

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JEFFERSON CITY- A bill introduced in the Missouri House Wednesday could force all retail businesses to close on Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter Sunday.

The bill does not yet specifically list which kinds of stores would be forced to keep their doors closed on the holidays, but by restricting retail stores, it would include anything from grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations.

Rep. Keith English, D-St. Louis County, proposed the bill as a way to keep families together on the holidays and relieve workers of their holiday duties. "There were two things I was trying to get at," Rep. English said. "One, minimum wage workers are having to endure long hours and endure the craziness of sales and people coming in, and trying to get them a living wage where they're at--which is being worked on at the federal level to increase minimum wage--but also family values."

Committee members who oppose the bill said it could hurt the Missouri economy by pushing shoppers into neighboring states or online.

Lawmakers also expressed concern about workers who like working the holiday hours so they can make more money. KOMU interviewed shoppers Wednesday who said the bill may not be in the consumer's or business' best interest.

"I think that would be a terrible thing for the consumer," Columbia shopper Jaquelyn Thomas said. "I think the business people do it because they need the business and I think it would hurt the market."

The bill is still being debated by a House committee, and a has a way to go before it could become a law.