Penguins were all the buzz Tuesday in both chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly.
The Senate and House of Representatives each introduced resolutions “honoring the Newport Aquarium for its contributions to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the aquatic world in general through its stewardship of sea life,” with the House recognizing January 24, 2012, as Penguin Day at the Capitol.
Speculation began the previous week that a live penguin might make an appearance to help celebrate this momentous occasion.
Word swept through the Capitol once Paula the penguin, named after Paula Abdul, was glimpsed clearing security. The halls leading to the House chamber quickly filled with penguin-crazed policy wonks, staffers and legislators hoping to catch a glimpse of this precocious tuxedo-clad critter.
Fueled by recent popular movies such as Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Happy Feet and March of the Penguins, this eternally well-dressed flightless bird is hotter than a revised budget plan, and it showed by the size and excitement of the crowd.
Paula, an African blackfooted penguin, was undaunted by the throng of onlookers jockeying to snap cell phone pictures or give her a friendly pat.
After leaving the House floor, she made a visit to Speaker Greg Stumbo’s office before entering the more austere Senate chamber, upon which Paula had a small accident near the desk of Senate President David Williams.
As Senate Resolution 92 was being presented to recognize the Newport Aquarium by Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine, Williams, who was presiding over the chamber, interrupted Stine to inform her that the penguin “just defecated on the floor.”
It was unclear whether Paula’s action should be construed as a political statement or merely freedom of expression.