The move was part of the normal procedure for preparing for final budget negotiations. However, some House members took the opportunity to criticize the Senate for cutting more than $3 million from the state’s tourism budget. State Rep. Don Ruzicka (R, Mount Vernon) urged House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) to try to get the cut restored.
First, one audit concludes that Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) may have had a conflict of interest by serving as chairman of both the state Tourism Commission and a nonprofit group that put on the Tour of Missouri bicycle race.
It notes that the Tourism Commission has no conflict of interest policy and recommends it adopt one.
St. Louis, whose location on the Mississippi River made it a hub for the sale of slaves, marked the Civil War sesquicentennial by re-enacting a slave auction in January. Missouri officials hope the anniversary will draw more attention to the state's Civil War history.
With 2011 marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's beginning, tourists and history buffs are expected to travel to famous battle sites, such as Gettysburg and Bull Run, in record numbers. Missouri would like some of that attention — only Virginia and Tennessee contain more Civil War battle sites.
Missouri was on the western front of the Civil War. The Battle of Wilson's Creek was fought there; in total, more than 1,000 skirmishes and battles took place in the state.