Charleston Tour Guides get their day in court


CHARLESTON, S.C. (News Release) — A court hearing at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, will decide the fate of the lawsuit challenging Charleston’s requirement that tour guides get a government-mandated license before they can speak. There are two issues set to be heard at the hearing: whether the court will dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice and three tour guides, and whether enforcement of the law will be suspended while the lawsuit is pending. Attorneys from the Institute for Justice and all three clients will be available for interviews after the hearing.

The hearing comes just one week after the Charleston City Council proposed repealing portions of the tour-guide law in response to the lawsuit. In the wake of the city’s proposed partial surrender, Tuesday’s hearing will primarily focus on the remaining requirements-including a requirement that would-be guides must memorize a nearly 500-page guidebook and pass a 200-question written exam.

This is the Institute for Justice’s fifth lawsuit challenging tour guide licensing. IJ recently won its challenge in Savannah after the city repealed its law in October 2015, and has successfully represented tour guides in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. IJ also challenged New Orleans’ licensing scheme, which was upheld by the 5th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals in 2014.

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