Congress welcomes sledders on Capitol Hill
It took an act of Congress, but the children of Washington were finally welcome to sled on Capitol Hill.
With a major blizzard hitting Washington, the U.S. Capitol Police said Jan. 21 that they wouldn't enforce -- as in years past -- a sledding ban. The law forbids sledding in order to protect the Capitol grounds. But in legislation that cleared Congress in December, lawmakers instructed the cops to chill out.
In prior years, Capitol police officers reluctantly enforced the ban. Last year, however, revelers orchestrated a "sled-in" with the full support of Washington's nonvoting delegate, Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton, and a complement of media covering the story. The police stood aside, avoiding the embarrassment and media coverage that would have come from breaking up the fun.
Enter the powerful House Appropriations Committee, whose chairman has an office overlooking a prime sledding spot. The panel added language to a government funding bill that instructed the Capitol Police to "forbear enforcement" of the ban "when encountering snow sledders on the grounds."
The police were still there, but this time they watched to make sure the kids were having a safe time of it.
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What makes Capitol Hill good for sledding?
Write your answers in the comments section below