Senator Bob Onder – Kicking Off the Second Regular Session

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Happy New Year!  I hope you and your families had a wonderful holiday season.

It’s hard to believe that the legislature is already back in session!  Last Wednesday, January 6, 2016, marked the beginning of the second regular session of the 98th general assembly, which also marked the start of my second year in the Missouri Senate.

There are several changes to note for this session, including new leadership in the Senate.  Senator Ron Richard, R-Joplin, will serve as President Pro-Tem and Senator Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, will serve as Majority Floor Leader.  In addition, I will serve as Assistant Majority Floor Leader.  I look forward to helping lead the Senate this session as we examine new and innovative ways to move Missouri forward.

The Missouri House of Representatives also welcomes new leadership to its chamber with the election of Todd Richardson as Speaker and Representative Mike Cierpiot as Majority Floor Leader.  It is an unusual situation to have new leadership in both Chambers in the middle of a general assembly, but I am confident that we have great leaders who will work together well.

While this week was a short one, next week proves to be much busier as Senate and House committees meet for the first time this session. With over a thousand bills already filed in both chambers there will be much to accomplish over the next few months.

Over the coming weeks I look forward to sharing information with you about the bills I filed and where they are in the process along with some of the important bills that get debated in both chambers.

Some of the highlights of my legislative package this session include a bill to reform ethics laws in Missouri.  Thirty-five states impose limits on lobbyist gifts; twelve ban them outright.  Thirty-one states prohibit legislators from going directly from public service to lobbying.  My ethics bill bans lobbyist gifts and institutes a policy that requires legislators to wait two years before becoming lobbyists.  It also includes a provision that requires legislators who wish to become lobbyists to divest money in their campaign accounts before doing so.

This summer the nation was appalled by revelations that Planned Parenthood abortion clinics were harvesting and selling baby body parts.  I was honored to be asked to serve on the Senate Sanctity of Life Committee that met in recent months.  I filed a bill based on what we learned at these hearings.  The bill would require yearly inspections of abortion clinics, require doctors performing abortions to have both clinical and surgical privileges at a nearby hospital and require that the Department of Health provide the legislature a report each session that outlines the abortions performed and whether or not the pathology lab received all fetal tissue, among other provisions.

I’ve also filed a bill that sets forth a plan to fund Missouri’s transportation needs, by directing a portion of our state’s sales tax to funding our transportation infrastructure.  I will be sure to update you on these and discuss other bills I’ve filed over the next few columns.

As always, please feel free to contact my office staff if we can assist you in anyway.  Theckla Spainhower will handle all constituent matters and scheduling requests this session, and Jennae Neustadt will handle all questions pertaining to legislation.  Please feel free to call my office or email Theckla or Jennae if you have any questions or need assistance.

Thank you for your interest in our work at the Capitol.  It is an honor to serve you.


Very Sincerely,

Onder Signature



Senator Robert F. (Bob) Onder, Jr., MD