Occupational Licensing

Street Performers Sue St. Louis Over Auditions, Licenses

Send in the clowns

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Two performers filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday claiming a St. Louis ordinance unconstitutionally requires an audition and license for street musicians, mimes, jugglers, dancers, magicians and perhaps anyone who wants to play a radio outdoors.

The complaint alleges that the so-called busking ordinance violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments with vague terms that outlaw "a substantial amount of expressive activity."

Tony Rothert, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the plaintiffs, claimed the law could cover "you singing along to the radio in your car."