Virginia Tourist Guide Court Challenge

Aug 24, 2015

Credit VistaGraphic Inc.

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A Virginia Beach visitors guide publisher is challenging the state's rules and fees for distributing information at welcome centers and rest areas.

VistaGraphics Inc. president and owner Randy Thompson says in a lawsuit that the rules and fees violate his freedom of speech and due process rights.

Defendants include the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Thompson tells The Virginian-Pilot that the state charges excessive fees to distribute visitors guides. His attorney, Kevin Martingayle, says the state's content rules for guides are vague and contradictory.

Assistant attorney general Eric Fiske has asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit. In court filings, Fiske says the welcome centers and rest areas are "non-public forums."

The lawsuit was transferred last week from Accomack Circuit Court to federal court.