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The Journal Gazette

Monday, May 05, 2014 10:44 am

Tour operators challenge licensing in court

WASHINGTON (AP) Skeptical judges on a federal appeals court are questioning why the nation's capital requires that tour guides be licensed by the local government.

In a town where talking is the main industry, the owners of a guide service say the city regulation for tour operators violates their First Amendment free-speech rights.

The District of Columbia government says the occupational licensing is a routine requirement that in no way restricts what tour operators may say as they guide tourists around town.

A federal judge last year found that guiding, directing and escorting a commercial sightseeing trip or tour would only incidentally burden free speech, if at all.