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Capitol grounds open to sledding, police say

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Capital Hill sledding 2

WASHINGTON — When the blizzard strikes the Capitol this weekend, authorities say they don’t intend to shoo away children sledding down its famously giant hill.

That’s the word from U.S. Capitol Police, who took the proactive step of issuing a press release explaining whether they will enforce “a decades old law that forbids any/all sledding on Capitol grounds.”

The release cites language in a giant government spending bill enacted last month that encourages USCP to “forebear enforcement” of the sledding ban in keeping with the spirit of the “family-style neighborhood that the Capitol shares with surrounding community.”

The lenient law enforcement comes after several episodes in recent years when Capitol Police prevented sledders from using the grounds, drawing attention from national news organizations and Members of Congress to the plight of area youngsters.

But the release warned police still have discretion to stop sledding if conditions warrant.

“Given the direction of Congress, the USCP will be monitoring any weather-related activity on the Capitol grounds, and also monitoring conditions to ensure a positive and safe experience for the young sledders,” the statement said. “Please note that if the conditions are unsafe for the public and/or the Congressional community, the USCP officers will limit the amount of sledding in the best interest of the public.”

The House Majority Leader’s office announced Thursday that there will be no votes on Monday citing the forecast.

The House was originally scheduled to be in session on Monday, but now the first votes of the week will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.