Virginia city cites Charleston to make tour guide licensing decision

VIDEO: Virginia city cites Charleston to make tour guide licensing decision

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - During a recent Williamsburg, Va. city council meeting, members unanimously passed a new ordinance to switch the city’s tour guide licensing program from mandatory to voluntary.

During that process last Thursday, city officials cited Charleston's recent tour guide licensing ruling as justification for the change.

“Over the past few years, there have been challenges in municipalities that require testing as part of the tour guide licensing process,” City Attorney Christina Shelton said during the meeting. “There have been challenges in New Orleans, DC, Savannah, and now Charleston. All of those except for Charleston are outside the fourth circuit which controls what happens in the city of Williamsburg Virginia.”

Shelton went on to cite the August 2018 ruling which made tour guide licensing in Charleston unconstitutional, a ruling which Judge David Norton has since upheld and Charleston city attorneys have since appealed to the fourth circuit.

Williamsburg, in exchange for making the process voluntary, will list certified tour guide's on the city's website which will include tour guides who have passed the test.

Shelton also explained that any ruling eventually made by the fourth circuit federal appeals court would apply to Williamsburg as well.

Williamsburg began requiring testing in 1992 and the testing process is conducted by the police department.

The city of Williamsburg, similar to Charleston, has a historic district. The municipality is home to Colonial Williamsburg, which is a living history museum intended to educate visitors about life in colonial America around the time of the Revolutionary War.

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