Savannah to stop testing tour guides after legal battle

AP News
Posted: Oct 15, 2015 5:15 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Savannah's city government is getting out of the business of requiring tour guides to pass a history test before they can take paying customers sightseeing in Georgia's oldest city.

The Savannah City Council voted Thursday to repeal a 1978 ordinance that mandated tour guides earn a license by passing a written exam on the city's history, architecture and key figures. The action came nearly a year after a small group of tour guides filed suit against City Hall in federal court, saying the regulation violates their free-speech rights.

A U.S. District Court judge has yet to rule on the lawsuit. City officials said they decided decisions on tour guide qualifications were best left to the private sector.

Federal courts reached divided opinions in similar lawsuits in Washington and New Orleans.