Use of the Capitol Rotunda, Capitol Grounds, and Emancipation Hall: Concurrent Resolutions, 101st to 113th Congress Page: 2 of 26
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Use of the Capitol Rotunda, Capitol Grounds, and Emancipation Hall
The Capitol Rotunda and the Capitol Grounds have been used as the setting for a variety of
events, ranging from memorial ceremonies and the reception of foreign dignitaries to the
presentation of awards and the hosting of public competitions. This report identifies and
categorizes uses of the Capitol Rotunda and Capitol Grounds authorized by concurrent
resolutions since the 101st Congress.
In most cases, use of the Capitol Rotunda requires a concurrent resolution agreed to by both the
House and Senate. A concurrent resolution for the use of the Rotunda typically identifies the
event and date for which use is authorized. Often, the resolution also directs physical preparations
to be carried out under the supervision of the Architect of the Capitol.
Ninety concurrent resolutions were agreed to by the House and the Senate authorizing the use of
the Rotunda between the 101st and the 113th Congresses. These resolutions can be divided into
seven categories: (1) commemoration ceremonies; (2) Congressional Gold Medal ceremonies; (3)
artwork unveilings; (4) presidential inauguration activities; (5) receptions or ceremonies honoring
living people; (6) persons lying in state or honor; and (7) prayer vigils.
Use of the Capitol Grounds can be authorized either by the passage of a concurrent resolution or
through an application process with the Capitol Police. A concurrent resolution is typically
needed for events longer than 24 hours in duration, for events that require vehicles on the Capitol
Grounds for setup, for events requiring electronics on the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol, and
for events where a large number of Members will be in attendance. The Capitol Police's special
events office handles permits and approval for all other events.
Ninety-seven concurrent resolutions were agreed to by the House and the Senate authorizing the
use of the Capitol Grounds between the 101st and the 113t Congresses. These resolutions can be
divided into four categories: (1) events sponsored by nonfederal government groups; (2)
memorial services; (3) events sponsored by the federal government; and (4) award and dedication
Upon the completion and opening of the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) during the 110t Congress,
Emancipation Hall of the CVC became available for use in the same manner as the Rotunda and
Capitol Grounds. Use of Emancipation Hall requires the passage of a resolution agreed to by both
houses of Congress authorizing its use. As of the date of this report, 20 resolutions authorizing the
use of Emancipation Hall have been agreed to.
This report will be updated at the end of each session of Congress.
Congressional Research Service
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Use of the Capitol Rotunda, Capitol Grounds, and Emancipation Hall: Concurrent Resolutions, 101st to 113th Congress, report, January 14, 2015; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc816807/m1/2/: accessed April 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.