After last night’s meltdown, there were cookies and flowers to start the morning in the Iowa House. State troopers were summoned late last night to remove an unruly crowd of hundreds who cheered and booed during a public hearing about a tax bill. They’d been asked, repeatedly, to quit.
This morning, the Pella Tulip Queen and her court arrived in the House at about 9:15, bearing baskets of Dutch letters to hand out to legislators. "Thank you for allowing us to be here today. We feel very honored to be with you," said Morgan Kuiper, the 2009 Pella Tulip Queen. "…We would like to invite you to the Tulip Time Festival this May 7, 8 and 9. When you arrive in our lovely town, you are sure to see welcoming smiles and tulips for miles. We hope to see you there."
Last night, crowd members were asked to abide by House rules which prevent public demonstrations in the House during public hearings and that includes a ban on applause. But this morning, Republican Representative Jim Van Engelenhoven of Pella led his colleagues and legislative staff in a round of applause for the visiting troupe of teenagers and adults from Pella who were dressed in traditional Dutch costumes and wearing wooden shoes.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the House, it’s a very nice spring day and the tulips came through the snow just fine," Van Engelenhoven said. "That being said, the Tulip Queen and her court have come. Would you please help me welcome them to the chamber?"
The Tulip Queen made a special presentation to House Speaker Pat Murphy, a Democrat from Dubuque. "First off, before I get started, I have a special box to present to the speaker of the house for only the cost of a kiss on the cheek," Kuiper told the crowd.
Murphy did as requested, the queen giggled and presented him with a box of Dutch treats. "Thank you," Murphy said, smiling as he posed for a picture snapped by someone in the Pella entourage.
The group of Pella Tulip Time ambassadors made the same kind of trip through the Iowa Senate, welcomed by Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley who led senate applause for the group. McKinley, who is from Chariton, represents Pella in the senate. The Tulip Queen asked Senate President Jack Kibbie for a kiss on the cheek, too, and snapshots were taken to capture the moment.
After their stops in the Senate and House, the Tulip Queen and her court walked through other areas of the statehouse, handing out Dutch letters to lobbyists and staff.