Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that she was very pleased with a provision in the House-passed fiscal year 2013 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill ratifying the Capitol Police Board decision to continue commercial filming and photography in Union Square (the area just below the west side of the Capitol), after its transfer last year from the National Park Service (NPS) to the Architect of the Capitol (AOC). Norton was disappointed, however, that the House Rules Committee prevented her, on procedural grounds, from offering an amendment on the House floor to allow commercial filmmakers and photographers to shoot on any federal land under the control of the Capitol Police with views of the Capitol, and she reiterated her call for the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction to hold a hearing on the feasibility of expanded filming and photography.
After the initial transfer in 2011, Norton met separately with all the federal stakeholders to ensure that the NPS policy would be maintained after the transfer. "The House took an important first step by codifying the Capitol Police Board decision to maintain the status quo after the transfer," Norton said. "However, Congress must go further and expand the permissible filming areas. It is time to bring the commercial photography and filming policy into the 21st century. I have yet to hear a policy or security reason for limiting filming to Union Square, because there are none. Capitol Police control the permitting process." Norton said that photos and films of the iconic Capitol building are not only the best tool to render the story of American democracy, but also can bolster the economy in the District and the nation.