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Lawsuit challenges state tourism fees

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Shirl via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0
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wikimedia.org

A federal lawsuit is challenging the right of regional tourism bureaus to charge room fees for travel campaigns, such as Pure Michigan.

A state law allows local tourism businesses to approve the fees by a majority vote.

Derk Wilcox is an attorney for the Mackinac Center.

He filed the challenge on behalf of a northern Michigan resort owner, who says he would do fine without an ad campaign he’s compelled to be part of.

"And that’s a violation of the First Amendment," Wilcox says. "The government can’t compel you to pay for speech which you don’t agree with."

Wilcox says the fees violate First Amendment free speech rights.

Advocates for the fees say the ad campaigns benefit every tourism business in a region.

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