"Describing without a license"


As Brian Doherty noted last week, the Institute for Justice has filed a major lawsuit challenging Washington, D.C.'s ridiculous law requiring "sightseeing guides" to obtain a government-issued license. Writing in The Washington Post, IJ attorney Robert McNamara explains just how arbitrary and unnecessary the D.C. law is:

It is illegal to "describe … any place or point of interest in the District to any person" on a tour without a license. Scofflaws who engage in unauthorized description can be thrown in jail for up to three months.

To obtain a license, would-be guides have to fill out a series of forms, pay hundreds of dollars in fees and pass a written examination that tests an arbitrary hodgepodge of knowledge about the District. The test itself purports to cover 14 topics, ranging from "Government" to "Architectural" and "Regulations" — a subject most tourists are surely eager to hear about.

For more on this very stupid law, check out IJ's new video on the case: