In 1961, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a state to close businesses on Sunday as a means of giving workers a day of rest, even if the day coincided with the Christian Sabbath.
Then, despite gaining that right to establish "blue laws," states slowly began to ease their restrictions on work on Sunday. Society has changed over the last 52 years.
Among the bigger changes have been the demographic shifts to two-income and single-parent families, causing more shopping to be done on weekends. And not everyone can get to the store on Saturday.
West Virginia's restrictions on Sunday commerce have almost disappeared. There's still a ban on Sunday hunting in 41 of the state's 55 counties, and restrictions remain in the code on the sale of alcohol by retail stores.
The House Judiciary Committee this week advanced a bill that would not only roll back the starting time for Sunday wine and beer sales from 1 p.m. to 10 a.m., but also allow stores to sell liquor on that day.
The push for expanding Sunday sales of alcohol comes from the state's tourism and restaurant businesses as well as its budding wineries and distilleries.
Retailers say allowing stores to sell alcohol on Sunday would be only fair since restaurants and bars already can do so. An industry group said the state could see a boost of 5 percent to 7 percent in alcohol sales if the restriction were lifted.
People will continue to observe the Sabbath, whether it falls on Saturday, Sunday or any other day of the week.
As other blue laws become distant memories, the remaining restrictions simply serve to inconvenience and confuse time-pressed shoppers.
It's time for lawmakers to relax the rules.