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Tour-guide licensing doesn’t violate First Amendment, 5th Circuit rules

Posted Jun 4, 2014 9:38 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal appeals court has upheld a New Orleans law requiring tour guides to get a license.

In an opinion (PDF) issued on Monday, the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found no First Amendment violation, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

The law had required those who charge for tours to take a test for knowledge about the city’s history and points of interest, to pass a drug test, and to have no felony convictions in the last five years. The initial license fee is $50, and the cost of renewal every two years is $20.

The appeals court said the purpose of the law was to promote and protect visitors to New Orleans by identifying tour guides who are reliable, knowledgeable, law-abiding and free of drug addiction. The licensing law does not restrict what tour guides can say, the court said. So “how is there any claim to be made about speech being offended?”

The Institute for Justice, which sued on behalf of the tour guides, plans to appeal.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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