Capitol Police Board chairman Frank Larkin announced in early 2015 that sledders would be banned from the hill for “security reasons.”
Parents organized sled-in protests, District Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton agitated for leniency and even Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid tried to intervene. Capitol Police held firm, citing their duty to enforce traffic regulations around the Capitol.
Capitol Police insisted their hands were tied.
Members of the House Appropriations Committee heard their cries. The committee included language the legislative branch funding bill for 2016 that calls on the Capitol Police to ease up on those rules and regulations when the snow starts to fall.
“The Committee understands the need to maintain safety and order on the Capitol grounds and commends the Capitol Police for their efforts,” the bill reads. “However, given the family-style neighborhood that the Capitol shares with the surrounding community the Committee would instruct the Capitol Police to forebear enforcement…when encountering snow sledders on the grounds.”
Norton celebrated the language, written by Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), when it was introduced in committee last month.
“Sledding on Capitol Hill is one of the longest-standing traditions in the District of Columbia, but the statute was used against us this year,” she said in an April statement. “I look forward to taking Sam with me next snowfall to officially lift the sledding ban for our kids and their families.”
The House may have approved the language tonight, but the ban isn’t over just yet: The Senate has not yet tackled their version of the funding bill for the legislative branch.