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Week of Feb. 2, 2015

Dear Friends:

The legislative session is in full swing.  As the fifth official week comes to a close, I wanted to share with you some of the bills I sponsored and will be working to pass this session.

The first bill I filed was Senate Bill 51, a bill I refer to as the Healthcare Freedom Act 2.0.  This legislation strengthens Missouri’s existing Health Care Freedom Act by protecting Missourians and Missouri businesses from Obamacare insurance mandates and penalties. Specifically, the bill would require insurers to follow the Obamacare law as written and not accept federal subsidies. It is the subsidies that trigger the burdensome penalties that are the hallmark of Obamacare. 

I feel that Missourians have spoken loudly against Obamacare both in voting largely in favor of the Health Care Freedom Act passed in 2010, and in voting to prevent the governor from establishing a state exchange in 2012. I believe this bill is a step in the right direction toward supporting the will of Missourians.

Education is another area of great interest to me, and one of the most important things we work on in state government.  As a result, I filed Senate Bill 251, which relates to on-line learning.  Specifically, the bill allows students to enroll in "virtual schools," for the purpose of attending on-line courses or programs. This legislation will provide students, especially those with special needs, with more opportunities for learning. 

I also filed Senate Joint Resolution 12, a constitutional amendment stating parents have a right to choose whether to educate their children in public, parochial, parish or private schools; in-home education or a combination thereof.  It identifies the responsibility that parents have to ensure their children are provided an excellent academic institution and attend regularly, but also provides that the state cannot dictate the content of the curriculum. This, I believe, is especially timely because of the many instances of overreach by the federal government in the area of education. 

The issue of the Mack’s Creek law, which limits the amount of revenue municipalities can derive from traffic tickets, has been a topic of great discussion recently, and is another issue I will be tackling in the Legislature.  Last week, I filed Senate Bill 327, which makes several modifications to the existing law. The bill closes many of the loopholes municipalities have been using to skirt the existing laws.These changes, along with others, will give greater teeth to the law, and the ability to enforce the provisions.  

Life issues are also an important part of my legislative agenda this session. As a result, this week I filed legislation that prohibits the use of public funds or government incentives to be used for research projects involving abortion, human cloning or other unethical human research. The bill gives taxpayers standing to bring suit against the state or state officials to enforce the provisions.

Aside from these topics, I filed legislation pertaining to paper ballots that would ensure there are enough available at polling locations, so those wishing to vote in this form have the ability to do so. Recent elections have called current electronic voting machines into question, and suggests the use of paper ballots would be helpful as they provide the only means through which election results can truly be audited. 

I also intend to file legislation pertaining to ethics. Such legislation will include provisions to end the revolving door policy that currently allows legislators to become lobbyists upon leaving office. I support creating a waiting period that legislators must follow before taking a job as a lobbyist. The legislation would also make gifts more transparent, and prevent a member who vacates their office to accept appointments to boards or commissions from receiving compensation until their office term expires.

I welcome your suggestions for legislative ideas you think I should pursue.

These are just a few of the many ideas I will be pursuing this session.  I encourage you to follow the progress of these bills via my weekly columns and through my senate website,  

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend.

Very Sincerely,

Robert F. (Bob) Onder, Jr.

This Week in the Missouri Senate

This week in the Missouri Senate was quite productive. As bills begin to move through the committee process, we had the opportunity to have meaningful debates on the senate floor. Much of our time was spent discussing the topic of ethics. As mentioned above, I will be filing an ethics bill this session that I consider to be a major overhaul of ethics laws in Missouri. The legislation discussed and perfected this week, Senate Bill 11, included some of the same provisions I support. Although the Senate gave its initial approval, SB 11 will need one final vote before moving to the House.

The most widely discussed aspect of the bill pertains to what is referred to as a cooling off period, whereby a legislator would be required to wait a period of time before he or she could become a lobbyist. Senate Bill 11 sets that time frame at two years and applies the law to all legislators beginning their first term after January 2017. The bill would also prevents a legislator from receiving compensation to serve as a political consultant for any candidate running for state representative or state senator, while he or she is serving in elected office, while limiting out of state travel of Senators, Representatives and/or their staff as well.

The opportunity to discuss much needed ethics reforms on the Senate floor this week was a great step in the right direction.  I look forward to continuing the discussion on these and other ideas in the future to ensure our process is as open and transparent as possible.

For a full listing of the bills debated on the floor and in committee, I invite you to visit the daily actions section of the senate webpage.

Sen. Onder with a group of constituents from the American Heart Association

In addition to our legislative work, it’s always a pleasure to visit with constituents from the district and other friends.  This week I met with visitors from Easter Seals Midwest, the American Heart Association, and constituents who dropped by to discuss individual issues of importance.  I also had the pleasure of spending time with US Senator Tom Coburn who was in town to talk to members about the idea of the convention of states.

I appreciate each and every one of you who took the time to email or call my office this week to voice your opinion on our work in Jefferson City. I appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about what the Legislature is doing for you in Jefferson City.  If you have any questions or comments regarding issues in state government or within the 2nd Senatorial District, please feel free to contact me. My contact information is below.

As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve you here in Jefferson City. If you would like me to share key dates of upcoming events in our area, please submit them to my office so I can include them in this weekly column.

Senator Onder in the News

Onder Files Legislation Aimed at Obamacare (The Missouri Times)

I appreciate your interest in our work here in Jefferson City, and am grateful for the opportunity to serve you.  Please do not hesitate to contact my office with questions about legislation, ideas for bills and any other matters we can assist you with. 

For scheduling and general questions, please contact my Scheduler and Deputy Legislative Director Sam Saffa at  

For constituent questions or concerns, please contact my Director of Constituent Services Theckla Spainhower at 
For questions pertaining to legislation, please contact my Chief of Staff and Legislative Director Jennae Neustadt at

You can reach my Capitol office at (573) 751-1282.  You can also e-mail me personally at

I would like to encourage you to sign up for my weekly capitol reports so we can inform you of our work each week.  Please email Sam Saffa at to be added to our mailing list.


Senator Onder serves a portion of St. Charles County
in the Missouri Senate.

Click on the image above to view Missouri Senate District 2.

Contact Information:

State Capitol Building, Room 226

Jefferson City, Missouri, 65101

(573) 751-1282

Elected to the Senate: 2014


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