After 2016 Dem Sit-In, House Will Now Issue Fines For Taking Photos On Floor


The Republican-led House on Tuesday passed a new rule putting in place a fine for taking photos or recording video from the House floor, a retaliation against House Democrats who staged a sit-in on the House floor in June.

Under the new rules, members of the House will be fined $500 for their first offense and $2,500 for any additional instances of taking photos on the House floor. The rules also ban “disorderly or disruptive conduct” and prohibit members from keeping their colleagues from the microphones at the front of the House chamber. Republicans did tweak the rules on Monday to allow members to appeal a $2,500 fine to the House Ethics Committee.

The new rules are a response to a sit-in staged by House Democrats in June to protest inaction on gun control measures. Democrats sat on the floor of the House for more than 24 hours, forcing the House to adjourn early. To promote their protest while the official House cameras were off, Democrats streamed live video from the House floor using social media, drawing ire from House Republicans.

In protest on Tuesday, some Democrats snapped photos on the House floor before the new rules were passed.

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), one of the leaders of the June sit-in, spoke out against the new rules on Tuesday and said that the fines could have a “chilling effect on members who disagree with the proceeding of this body.”