Judge: License law violated speech rights of Georgia guides

FILE - In this Friday, March 20, 2015 file photo, Dan Leger, who works under the name Savannah Dan, talks with visitors while leading a guided tour of downtown Savannah, Ga. A federal judge says the city of Savannah violated the free-speech rights of tour guides by requiring them to obtain a license under a local law that has since been scrapped. The ruling Monday, May 21, 2019 in U.S. District Court is largely a symbolic victory for Savannah tour guides who sued City Hall more than four years ago over the 1978 licensing ordinance.

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A federal judge says Georgia's oldest city violated the free-speech rights of tour guides by requiring them to obtain a license under a local law that has since been scrapped.

The ruling Monday in U.S. District Court is largely a symbolic victory for Savannah tour guides who sued City Hall more than four years ago over the 1978 licensing ordinance. Savannah's city council repealed the law in October 2015 nearly a year after the lawsuit was filed.

The suit was brought by the Virginia-based Institute For Justice, which says the Georgia ruling strikes another legal blow against similar licensing requirements for tour guides still on the books in cities such as New York and New Orleans. Courts have struck down similar laws in Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.