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D.C. Tour Guides Faced 90 Days in Jail for NOT Having a License

Written By Jeff Siegel

Posted July 14, 2014

segsinthecityI was recently reading an article about Tonia Edwards and Bill Main.

Edwards and Main own a tour guide company in Washington D.C., and more importantly just won a challenge to licensing rules in the District regarding tour guides.

Apparently, there’s long been a law in place that forced tour guides to pass a written test and of course, pay a fee. In this case, $325 biannually. If caught without a license, these dangerous lawbreakers could be fined $300 a day and be subject to 90 days in jail.

Yeah, that’s right. 90 days in jail for not having a license to give folks a tour of the nation’s capital. Bizarre, ironic and completely unconstitutional, of course.

In any event, the folks who run this tour guide company called “Segs in the City,” won. Judge Janice Rogers Brown made the following statement regarding the argument that the law was necessary to protect consumers from unscrupulous practitioners. . .

To state the obvious, Segs in the City, like any other company, already has strong incentives to provide a quality consumer experience — namely, the desire to stay in business and maximize a return on its capital investment.

Kudos to Judge Brown.

Although the fact that tour guides have had to abide by this unconstitutional law for 108 years is ridiculous. Yes indeed. This law has been on the books since 1906. And it makes you wonder, how many other laws like this one are still on the books?