Sled-in to protest ban at US Capitol: Can't a D.C. kid have any fun?

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia's delegate in Congress, failed to get a waiver on an 1876 regulation banning the use of Capitol grounds as a playground. But we have an idea.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
James Drobnyk, 2, joins others in sledding down the hill on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. An 1876 regulation bans sledding and otherwise using the hill as a playground. The District of Columbia's delegate in Congress attempted to get a waiver for March 5 to March 8 but was unsuccessful.

[Update: Protesters announced a "sled in" Thursday afternoon to protest the ban, with the hashtag #SledFreeOrDie. "If you are up for a little civil disobedience, meet at the west front of the Capitol lawn" at 1 p.m., the page says. "Come armed with sleds!"]

Washington, D.C. is having a snow day Thursday – just a few inches, but enough to shut the place down. Most of us are working from home, but those with kids are going to need some relief.

What to do? Sledding! For families on Capitol Hill, the best sledding around would be right on the grounds of the US Capitol. The District’s nonvoting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), petitioned the Capitol Police Board to lift the ban on sledding on the Capitol grounds from March 5 to March 8.

“This could be the last snowstorm the D.C. area gets this winter, and may be one of the best for sledding in years,” Ms. Norton said Wednesday in her request. “Children and their parents should able to enjoy sledding on one of the best hills in the city.”

Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada backed her up with a tweet.

We’re not sure if there was any attempt at bipartisanship on this. But late Wednesday, the board said no, citing a regulation dating back to April 29, 1876. It bans the use of “any portion of the Capitol Grounds and terraces from being used as playgrounds or otherwise, so far as may be necessary to protect the public property, turf and grass from destruction or injury.”

There was no mention of the fact that in 2010, during “Snowmaggedon” (when D.C. truly got snowed under), then-Sen. Christopher Dodd (D) of Connecticut succeeded in getting a temporary waiver on the sledding ban, as The Wall Street Journal reports.

But for now, Capitol Hill families are going to have to make do with lesser sledding venues.

Last month, Norton asked the Capitol Police Board to permanently overturn the ban; the board has until March 26 to respond, according to CNN.

If that fails, how about some executive action, President Obama?

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