Lawsuit Challenges Tourism Fees In Michigan

Jul 5, 2016

"Pure Michigan" Billboard
Credit J. Stephen Conn / flickr.com

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.  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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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org