April 2, 2014 | APRIL 2014 | Volume 8, Iss

Pearson's state-parks partnership bill heads to governor: Measure would give parks flexibility in addressing funding needs

On Tuesday, March 11, the Senate voted 47-2 to agree with changes made by the House of Representatives to Sen. Kirk Pearson’s state-parks partnership bill. Senate Bill 6034, which passed with broad bipartisan support in the House and Senate, now heads to the governor.

“Our park system is one of the greatest treasures we have as a state,” said Pearson, R-Monroe, who serves as chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee. “It is important that we protect the beauty and recreational benefits of our parks while making sure they have access to the resources they need to remain functioning and well-maintained.

“The goal of this bill is to give our state parks yet another tool they can use to bring in additional revenue and meet their core mission.”

SB 6034 lifts the ban on advertising in state parks and authorizes the state to seek assistance from, and enter into agreements with, private organizations and public agencies interested in conservation and environmental maintenance of the park system. The bill gives the State Parks and Recreation Commission the flexibility it needs to better partner with those communities while providing a new source of much-needed additional revenue.

Pearson said the changes made by the House will help the bill better achieve its goal of permitting advertising in the most tasteful and unobtrusive way possible.

“The House made several good changes that strengthen the bill,” said Pearson. “They prohibited the commission from naming a state park after a commercial entity; they also added standards for commercial advertising to make sure there was no obscene or offensive material; and they eliminated any potential conflict of interests with advertisers. All of these changes are welcomed and make the bill much stronger going forward.”

The bill now goes to the governor; with the Legislature’s adjournment. The law it creates will take effect June 12.

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