Savannah prepares retreat in speech fight with tour guides

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Officials in Georgia’s oldest city are prepared to retreat from a decades-old law requiring tour guides to prove to City Hall that they know history.

The Savannah City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposal to repeal portions of a 1978 ordinance that requires tour guides to earn a license by passing a 100-question test on the city’s history, architecture and key figures.

A small group of tour guides sued City Hall last fall in U.S. District Court, arguing the licensing and testing mandates violate their free speech rights. City attorneys for months insisted the regulation was lawful because it deemed tour guides qualified based on what they know, not what they actually say.

Other federal courts issued conflicting rulings on similar laws in Washington and New Orleans.

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