Count Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, among those who would like to take the decision away from local school boards on when to start school.
Ms. Ruestman is co-sponsor of HB 1933 fronted by Carl Bearden, R-St. Charles, that would mandate a later start for schools, something which has been advocated by the tourism industry and by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce among others. As noted earlier this week, a similar bill, SB 1114, sponsored by Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, is also backed by those same interests, including the Branson Area Chamber of Commerce.
Bearden has good reason to feel beholden to that organization. According to Missouri Ethics Commission records, a Citizens for Bearden fundraiser was held Nov. 8 in the Saturn Room at the Tower Club in Springfield, with 15 participants. The cost for the reception was $300 for a sponsor, $150 a couple and $75 per individual. Bearden collected $1,100 during that fundraiser.
Among those kicking in to his campaign to the tune of $300 was former representative Jerry Burch, now a lobbyist for among others, the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. The food and drinks for the reception cost $469.30, according to the Ethics Commission documents. Of that amount, $300 was paid for by J. Scott Marrs, lobbyist for the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. The other $169.30 was paid for by Trisha Darrough, you guessed it, a lobbyist for the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.
Bearden reported contributions from Reginald McElhannon, $50; James P. Ferguson, $75; Committee to Elect Dan Scott, $75, Al Penny, $75, Terry Meek $150, James Bureman $75 and Carlson Gardner $300, in addition to Burch's aforementioned contribution.
Interestingly enough, on Bearden's campaign contribution disclosure forms, the event is not listed as a Citizens for Bearden fundraiser, but as "Marrs Burch Reception."
Apparently, that is not one of the items lobbyists have to list in their disclosure forms since Marrs, Burch and Ms. Darrough reported no expenditures during November 2005.