The “Ansel Adams Act,” introduced on January 2, 2015, moves to “restore the First Amendment rights of photographers” by removing all limitations on photographing public and federal locations.
The bill was introduced by Republican US representative Steve Stockman of Texas, in response to the recent years of regulations prohibiting photography at sites like federal buildings and public parks.
The act argues that threatening photographers with arrest or seizure of photographic equipment is a violation of freedom of speech and freedom of press. Its argument is based on the notion that photographers should not be prohibited from “merely recording what the eye can see from public places.”
The act was named after iconic American photographer Ansel Adams, referencing the influence in documenting the iconic landscapes.
The act states that “future Ansel Adams’ must not have their paths blocked, regulated and more expensive with fees and fines, or be threatened with arrest and seizure of their equipment.”
The act goes on to request that if a Federal agency does want to restrict photography of it’s building or employees, it should have to obtain a court order that outlines why this restriction is necessary for national security.
The bill is currently being held for consideration, but should it pass would open many new doors for photographers.