Old Maryland law undercuts Montgomery barbers -- Gazette.Net


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Deep in the annals of Maryland law is a single sentence that one Montgomery County lawmaker says needs to be shaved from the code.

It reads: “A barbershop in Montgomery County may not open for business more than 6 days a week.”

Del. Eric Luedtke says the old law needs to go and has drafted a bill repealing it. He plans to introduce his bill in the 2014 session.

“Laws have real effects on people’s lives and I think we should have a clean code,” he said.

Luedtke (D-Dist. 14) of Burtonsville suspects the law is an old “blue law,” a subset of laws that ban activity on a Sundays for religious purposes.

As far back as 1971, state law prohibited barbershops in Montgomery and, at the time, Prince George’s County, from being open for business more than six days each week, according to information from the Maryland Department of Legislative Services.

In 1996, the General Assembly repealed the requirement for Prince George’s County, but it remained for Montgomery.

Restricting barbershops in Montgomery, and only barbershops in Montgomery, to a six-day business week is a law the state can do without, he said, especially since few know it even exists.

“As far as I know, it is not being enforced,” Luedtke said.

Andrew Fremming has been a barber for 12 years and his shop, The Suite, has been open in Silver Spring for just shy of four years.

While The Suite is only open five days each week, Fremming had no idea that the law restricted his profession to less than a full week of operation.

But where Luedtke suspects religion, Fremming suggested it could be tradition that put the law on the books.

“The only thing I can think of is the tradition of barbershops being closed on Mondays,” he said. “It’s something that has been going on for quite some time.”

Fremming said he thinks few barbers know about the law and noted that the Maryland Board of Barbers rarely checks up on anything, let alone enforces the a shop’s days of operation.

A representative with the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation did not return a call seeking comment.

kalexander@gazette.net