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Women in Legislature Celebrate Tax Day Through Colorful Hats

April 15, 2002
By: JiaoJiao Shen
State Capital Bureau

Easter's over, but women in the legislature were wearing their bonnets to celebrate tax day. JiaoJiao Shen has more from Jefferson City.

Story:
RunTime: 3:43
OutCue: SOC

Straw hats, linen hats, cowboy hats, and even construction hats decorated the House floor Monday as women celebrated the end of the two-thousand and one tax season.

The idea popped up last week when Representative Juanita Walton of St. Louis County thought it would be fun to wear hats in the House.

Actuality:WALTON1
RunTime: 21
OutCue: hat day on tax day
Contents: Representative Walton says she thought about doing something light and fun. She talked to another legislator who thought Tax Day would be a good day. Walton agreed and decided to call it hat day on tax day.

Hat day on Tax Day it was.

Most of the women in the House were more than happy to show-off and have a little fun.

Representative Connie Cierpiot of Independence liked the idea of wearing hats to work.

Actuality:CIER2
RunTime: 5
OutCue: for the wear
Contents: Representative Cierpiot says it's great because you can have a bad hair day and it won't look any worse for the wear.

But wearing the hat to cover a bad hair day did cause some problems.

Representative Judy Berkstresser of Southwest Missouri thought it was a little distracting to wear something on her head.

Actuality:BERK1
RunTime: 12
OutCue: some disturbance to me today
Contents: Representative Berkstresser says the hat makes her head itch. When she stepped out of the car this morning the wind took it across the parking lot so it has been of some disturbance to her.

But overall, most of the women didn't find the hats too distracting.

In fact, most of them enjoyed admiring each other's colorful addition to their daily apparel.

Representative Betty Thompson of St. Louis County says wearing a hat on the floor didn't decrease her ability to pay attention.

Actuality:THOMP3
RunTime: 9
OutCue: other beautiful hats
Contents: Representative Thompson says it's not distracting to her because she pays attention to what's going on on the floor as well as looking at the other hats.

Even the men didn't find the hats distracting.

Representative Ralph Monaco of suburban Kansas City says he doesn't mind the hats so much, although he was a little confused when he first saw them.

Actuality:MONACO1
RunTime: 5
OutCue: they look nice
Contents: Representative Monaco says his first reaction was what are they celebrating, what's the special occasion? But he thinks they look nice.

Some of the men even wanted to make this a hat day for men and women.

Representative Walton says a few men wanted to wear hats of their own.

Actuality:WALTON4
RunTime: 8
OutCue: it would be a ladies thing
Contents: Representative Walton says some of the men wanted to wear hats too but she just said their mother's should have told them it was bad manners to wear hats indoors. So it's just a ladies thing.

Representative Monaco agrees.

It is just a ladies thing.

Actuality:MONACO2
RunTime: 17
OutCue: pretty nice really
Contents: Representative Monaco says women have always had a tradition of hats. They would compare whose hat was the gaudiest or most flamboyant. If the women are trying to bring it back, then he has no problem with it. He thinks it looks good.

Looking good was a criteria for some of the hats. But other women just didn't care much about their hat.

Representative Susan Phillips isn't a huge fan of hats, but wore one anyway.

Actuality:PHIL3
RunTime: 5
OutCue: three dollars and eighty-eight cents.
Contents: Representative Phillips says she didn't own a hat so she bought a Walmart special for three dollars and eighty-eight cents.

Phillips may not have put a lot of thought into her hat, but other representatives did.

Representative Jane Cunningham of St. Louis County wanted to do something different so she wore a unique black old-fashioned hat with a veil.

Actuality:CUNNING2
RunTime: 5
OutCue: wanted something really different
Contents: Representative Cunningham says the hat is about twenty-five to thirty years old and they don't make hats like that anymore so she wanted something a little different.

Others had different ideas when they were deciding what hat to wear on Tax Day.

Representative Thompson made her decision based on her outfit of the day.

Actuality:THOMP2
RunTime: 8
OutCue: why I'm wearing it
Contents: Representative Thompson says she chose purple because it's the color of royalty and it matches her outfit so that's why she's wearing it.

Overall, hat day on tax day was a success.

The majority of women in the House wore their decorative hats and caught a lot of attention.

Representative Esther Haywood of St. Louis County said the women just went back to being little girls again.

Actuality:HAYWOOD1
RunTime: 9
OutCue: and still deliver
Contents: Representative Haywood said they all felt a little dressed up like little girls in a playhouse, but they are in the chamber house. They are showing men they can look pretty and still deliver.

So women can look good and deliver.

But can men do the same?

At least one representative said he expects there should be a men's hat day before the end of the month.

From Jefferson City, I'm JiaoJiao Shen