Savannah tour guides say city uses testing to illegally influence content of their speech

Tour guides suing the city of Savannah say the local government is trying to control what they tell visitors by requiring guides to pass a written test based on a textbook produced by City Hall.

Tour guides filed a federal lawsuit last November saying Savannah violates their free-speech rights by requiring them to obtain a special license. Both sides recently asked a judge to decide the case without a jury trial.

Attorneys for the tour guides say City Hall is trying to control guides' speech by licensing only those "who have memorized and regurgitated the City's official version of Savannah history."

Savannah City Attorney W. Brooks Stillwell III said the city wants to ensure tour guides know their history "but we don't in any way tell them what to say."