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  1. #1 Philadelphia subject tour guides to hundreds of dollars in fines for talking? 
    An Adversary of Linda #'s
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    Tour Guides File Federal First Amendment Lawsuit

    The Freedom to Speak threatened in Philadelphia

    Arlington, Va—May the city of Philadelphia subject tour guides to hundreds of dollars in fines for engaging in unauthorized talking?

    This is the question the Institute for Justice (IJ) seeks to answer in a federal lawsuit filed today, two days before Philadelphia celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The suit is brought on behalf of three Philadelphia tour guides—Mike Tait, Josh Silver and Ann Boulais—seeking to overturn a law enacted in April that will make it illegal for anyone like them to give a tour of much of the city’s downtown area without first passing a test and obtaining a government license—without, in essence, getting the government’s permission to speak. Effective in October, unlicensed tour guides can face fines of up to $300 per violation and have their businesses shut down.

    “The government cannot be in the business of deciding who may speak and who may not,” said Robert McNamara, a staff attorney with the Institute for Justice, a national public interest law firm with a history of defending free speech and the rights of entrepreneurs. “The Constitution protects your right to communicate for a living, whether you are a journalist, a musician or a tour guide. It makes no more sense to let city officials decide who is allowed to talk about history than it would to let them decide who is allowed to talk about sports.”

    The new law makes it illegal to give a tour for compensation of the city’s main tourist area without first submitting a written application, paying a fee, providing proof of insurance and passing a written examination in order to be granted a license to tour. The program will be administered and the test developed by an administrative agency to be named by the mayor’s office. No test has been made public.

    http://www.ij.org/first_amendment/pa.../7_2_08pr.html
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member LibraryLady's Avatar
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    We were stationed near Washington D.C. and used to go there frequently. A group of friends came up from Louisiana for the Innaguration and I rode on their tour bus for a "view of the Capital". The man incorrectly identified MANY famous buildings. I just bit my tongue but it was a shame to get hear them get so much misinformation.
    This is bigger than presidential politics. This is a battle for America.
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  3. #3  
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    Interesting issue. The government can and does regulate free speech. One can not give legal advice if one is not an attorney. I'm not certain why tour guides should be any different. I think the attempt to cut down on fraud is appropriate. That's my gut reaction.
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  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by LibraryLady View Post
    I just bit my tongue but it was a shame to get hear them get so much misinformation.
    But they get just as much misinformation from the so-called legal tours. If you drop out all the Judeo-Christian history from a lot of those sites, the art and architecture becomes meaningless.

    A license is no guarantee of historical "accuracy" if we even knew what that was in this day and age.
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillygirl View Post
    Interesting issue. The government can and does regulate free speech. One can not give legal advice if one is not an attorney. I'm not certain why tour guides should be any different. I think the attempt to cut down on fraud is appropriate. That's my gut reaction.


    Are you suggesting there might be a fiduciary relationship between tour guides and tourists? I'm pretty sure that's the basis for the attorney rule...
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    But they get just as much misinformation from the so-called legal tours. If you drop out all the Judeo-Christian history from a lot of those sites, the art and architecture becomes meaningless.

    A license is no guarantee of historical "accuracy" if we even knew what that was in this day and age.
    A licence is just another way to tax an enterprise and taking a test for it is an attempt to hide the fact!
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member LibraryLady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    But they get just as much misinformation from the so-called legal tours. If you drop out all the Judeo-Christian history from a lot of those sites, the art and architecture becomes meaningless.

    A license is no guarantee of historical "accuracy" if we even knew what that was in this day and age.

    He was giving no historical info but you would think he could tell the Holocaust Museum from the Hirschorn!
    This is bigger than presidential politics. This is a battle for America.
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  8. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by biccat View Post


    Are you suggesting there might be a fiduciary relationship between tour guides and tourists? I'm pretty sure that's the basis for the attorney rule...
    No, I'm saying that the argument that we can not license free speech is inaccurate.
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  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by LibraryLady View Post
    He was giving no historical info but you would think he could tell the Holocaust Museum from the Hirschorn!
    I understand your concern but what I'm saying is that a government go-ahead is no guarantee of accuracy. I've taken enough tours to know. The people who read history and know will be amused or disgusted by turns and the unread sheep won't care. Sadly.
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  10. #10  
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    I've corrected all sorts of misinformation on tours, but I do it by talking to the guide privately afterwards, and telling them how I know what I know. The most recent example was the docent at the Woodrow Wilson house in Staunton, Va., who incorrectly described how one would mount a sidesaddle that was displayed in the house. Since I have ridden sidesaddle, I was able to describe to her why "her way" wouldn't work, but I did it after the tour was over. She was genuinely interested, and I'm sure she gave the correct information after that.
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