City of Charleston appeals tour guide licensing ruling


    Charleston tour guide license law unconstitutional, federal judge rules (File, WCIV)

    The City of Charleston filed a notice of appeal in response to U.S. District Court Judge David Norton’s ruling regarding the city’s tour guide licensing program.

    Last August, Norton threw out the city's mandatory licensing requirement on the basis that it violates the First Amendment.

    The law required tour guides to pass both a 200-question written test and an oral exam based on a nearly 500-page manual published by the city.

    READ MORE | Charleston tour guide license law unconstitutional, federal judge rules

    Today, city attorney Carol Ervin issued the following statement about the appeal:

    “For over thirty years the City maintained a successful tour guide licensing regime to ensure tour guides were qualified to charge the public fees for their services. The City continues to believe a mandatory licensing program for all tour guides is the most effective way to achieve the City’s objective of protecting tourists, residents and the tourism industry from the problems caused by unqualified or unscrupulous guides. Despite the Court’s ruling in this case, the City is confident that the mandatory licensing process for tour guides previously in place did not violate the First Amendment, as other courts, including the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, have held. The City has therefore filed an appeal challenging the District Judge’s rulings in this case, and hopes to restore the successful mandatory licensing program as soon as possible.”

    The City...hopes to restore the successful mandatory licensing program as soon as possible.

    – City of Charleston attorney Carol Ervin

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