Judge denies Charleston’s request to reconsider tour guide licensing ruling

VIDEO: Judge will not reconsider tour guide licensing ruling

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Monday a judge revoked the city of Charleston’s motion to appeal an August ruling in which the city’s tour guide licensing laws were said to be unconstitutional.

Federal Judge David Norton ruled that tour guides in Charleston are still able to give tours without a tour guide license.

Charleston used to require tour guides to pass a 200-question test in order to get a license.

The city asked the judge to reconsider the ruling, but Monday that request was officially denied, meaning Charleston still cannot enforce any licensing rules.

The judge said the city doesn’t have any new evidence and has not found any manifest errors of law. The city’s attorney says they are disappointed with the order and believe a licensing program is still the right approach to avoid problems by unqualified guides.

The City is now considering appealing the ruling to the Fourth Circuit court of appeals since they say they are not pleased with the ruling.

“The City is disappointed with Judge Norton’s Order. The City continues to believe a mandatory licensing program for 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. The City is considering its options for appeal to the Fourth Circuit,” Carol Ervin, counsel for the City of Charleston said.

Charleston is among five cities that the Institute for Justice sued over its tourism guide licensing rules. Four of those lawsuits were successful in stopping the cities' policies including Charleston's.

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