The measure, which has already passed the House, calls for pushing back the dates school starts, largely to accommodate the needs for the state's tourism industry. Though the needs of the tourism industry are a valid concern, they were not mentioned when Goodman first proposed this bill during the 2006 legislative session.
In the March 23, 2006, Turner Report, I noted:
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.
I pointed out that Goodman, whose district encompasses Branson, had received more than $10,500 in contributions from tourism interests.
The bill drew the public support of Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, this year. Though Nodler may well have supported the bill during its first incarnation, he made public statements beginning in the summer of 2006 (at least the first that appear in local sources). At the same time, Nodler started raking in contributions from Branson tourism interests for the first time, to the tune of $2,925 during the three months covered in the July 2006 campaign disclosure report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
As noted in the July 15, 2006, Turner Report:
Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, told school counselors attending a May meeting at the Southwest Center for Educational Excellence in Webb City that he supported a proposal to require school districts to start the school year after Labor Day, something that the tourism industry has pushed for years.
As I noted in the June 5 Turner Report, Nodler said school administrators had given him "no credible reason" why schools should start earlier than Labor Day.
While school administrators couldn't provide Nodler with a credible reason, Branson tourism industries found nearly three thousand of them, according to Nodler's quarterly campaign disclosure report filed today with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Out of $4,850 he reported receiving from donors during the past three months, $2,925 came from Branson interests, all of it on June 28, according to the report. Among those contributing were:
-$625 from American Council of Travel, Branson
-$200 from Denver Wood, Vacation Services of America, Branson
-$200 from Cindy Wood, Vacation Services of America, Branson
-$200 from Roark Travel Service Network, LLC, Branson
-$200 from Vacation Services of American, Inc., Branson
-$300 from Travel Access, Branson
-$200 from Thomas Wood, Vacation Services of America, Branson
-$200 from Deborah Wood, Vacation Services of America, Branson
-$200 from Crystal Hedrick, Vacation Services of America, Branson
-$200 from Brant Hedrick, Vacation Services of America, Branson