Thursday, March 23, 2006
Goodman deals with critical issues
It's all about protecting families.
That's how Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, describes Senate Bill 1114, which he authored. No, this is not one of those anti-gay marriage bills or legislation designed to keep evil influences out of the lives of Missourians.
According to the bill summary, "This act asserts that the opening date for all public schools shall not be earlier than the Friday prior to the last Monday in August. However, the act allows school districts to establish an opening date that is prior to the aforementioned date by a majority vote of the voters of the district, the procedure for which is delineated in the act."
In a news release, Goodman said the bill "protects families' ability to take summer vacations, be involved in sports and summer camps and take advantage of other important non-classroom learning opportunities."
Goodman continues, adding that this simple maneuver will increase student attendance "as parents are relieved of the burden of choosing between their children's education and these other vital activities."
These things may all be true, though I am inclined to doubt it, but even if they are, Goodman left out one important reason why he sponsored this legislation...it is a pet bill of the state's tourism industry, and if anyone is beholden to that special interest segment, it's Senator Goodman.
A check of campaign disclosure forms filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission shows Goodman received at least $10,550 from Branson interests during the special election in which he succeeded the late Larry Gene Taylor.
In the disclosure form filed eight days before the election, Goodman received the following contributions:
Starboard Corporation $600 (the maximum at that time), Mark Still, Still Construction, Branson, $150; Kanakuk Camps $600, Raeanne Presley (of the Presley Theater) $150, Peter Herschend (Silver Dollar City) $300; American Council of Travel, $600; Ozark Travel Service Network LLC $600, Market Source LLC $600, Branson Hotline $600, Vacation Services of America, Inc. $600, Travel More Now, $600,Jack Herschend $300.
The October disclosure form shows Goodman receiving $600 from Grandvista LLC (Branson Yacht Club), and an additional $600 from GV 248 LLC at the same address as Grandvista; $600 from Kelly Swanson of What's Up Dock Marina; $600 from HCW LLC and $600 from HCW Development Corporation LLC at the same address.
On the form filed 15 days after his nomination, Goodman received $600 from Silver Dollar City BACPAC and $500 from the What's Up Dock Marinma, as well as $150 from Burch and Associates, the lobbying firm run by former State Representative Jerry Burch. The firm's clients include the Branson Area Chamber of Commerce.
This bill is a total kissup to the special interests who poured money into Goodman's campaign coffers. Decisions on when school opens should be left to each local school board and not be mandated by the big bucks of Branson.
The committee hearing on Goodman's bill was held March 14.