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DC delegate introduces bill to expand commercial filming at the Capitol

Washington, D.C., delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has introduced a bill to expand commercial filming at the U.S. Capitol to showcase Congress in its “fullest authenticity.”

“In our open and free democracy, it should be unthinkable to deny access to film the Capitol, one of our nation’s most iconic democratic symbols,” Norton said in a statement. “It is neither business-friendly nor true to the nation’s democratic traditions to exclude filming of the Capitol, and there is no justifiable policy reason to limit filming to Union Square.”

Norton’s bill would allow commercial filmmaking and photography to take place at the Capitol Complex — beyond where it’s permitted now, at Union Square, when both chambers of Congress are out of session. She said there is “no good reason” as to why filming is currently limited to Union Square.

In a statement released Wednesday, Norton said the bill would provide an economic and “patriotic boost” to the nation’s capital by allowing creatives to showcase the Capitol.

The expanded filmmaking and photography would still be subject to the same conditions and requirements that exist for commercial purposes in Union Square. The bill also gives U.S. Capitol Police “full discretion” on when to issue permits to address security concerns.

Her statement said it is part of her efforts to expand public access to public spaces, particularly around the Capitol.

“Encouraging commercial photography and filmmaking at the Capitol would help spread the story of our democracy and our national legislature around the world, while providing a boost to the District of Columbia’s economy,” she said in a statement.

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