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Week of Feb. 9, 2015

Dear friends

I’m sure you’ve heard some of the news about our work in the Capitol this week. Discussions pertaining to right-to-work, the events surrounding Ferguson and municipal court reform dominated the headlines.

Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Senator Schmitt, R-Glendale, was brought before the full Senate body for debate early in the week. The bill, which is sometimes referred to as the Mack’s Creek Law, reduces the threshold at which municipalities must send excess revenues to the Missouri Department of Revenue. The existing threshold is set at 30%. This bill would decrease that threshold so that on January 1, 2016, it would be set at 20% and on January 1, 2017, it would be reduced to 10%. The idea behind this bill is to reign in those municipalities that are unfairly using speed traps and courts as piggy banks to bankroll their cities, and in the process creating distrust between citizens and law enforcement. Senator Schmitt referred to this as " taxation by citation."

I worked with Senator Schmitt's office and the Auditor's office on this bill, particularly to close loopholes regarding definitions of traffic offense and revenue, as well as enforcement mechanisms.

Senate Bill 5 was brought up for a third read and final vote in the Senate on Thursday. It now heads to the House of Representatives for similar consideration.

Wednesday was an exceptionally busy day in the Capitol. During the day, members of the House of Representatives voted on House Bills 116 & 569, both of which are commonly referred to as right-to-work bills. These bills prevent an employer from requiring a person to become a member of pr pay dues to a labor organization as a condition of employment. House Bill 116 applies the law statewide while HB 569 applies it only to the construction industry. Ninety-two house members voted in favor of HB 116, which is the largest number of house members that have voted in favor of such legislation.

I support these bills, which I prefer to call Freedom to Work.  As a matter of principle, every worker should be free to join or support a union, but he or she should also be fee to not join or support a union.  And Missouri and other forced unionization state lag behind Freedom to Work states, that since 2009 have created 4 out of 5 jobs in the U.S.

On Wednesday evening, a joint Senate and House Committee on Government Accountability met to hear testimony on the state’s response to the events in Ferguson on the night of the grand jury announcement in the Darren Wilson case. The committee met for several hours and heard testimony from the mayor of Ferguson who expressed frustration with the National Guard’s response to the situation and his unsuccessful attempts to reach the Governor for support.

The Senate met on Thursday morning to continue consideration of Senate Bill 24, the Strengthening Missouri Families Act, which modifies provisions relating to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Analysis Program (SNAP) in Missouri. We remember that in 1996 President Bill Clinton signed a republican welfare reform bill, declaring an "end to welfare as we know it." Almost two decades later, Missouri lags behind other states in instituting welfare reform.

Among other provisions, SB 24 requires the Department of Social Services to conduct an investigation to determine if a person is cooperating with the work requirements set forth in the TANF program.  The bill contains language applying sanctions in cases where a recipient is non-compliant. The bill also creates a life-time limit of 48 months for TANF but contains an exception for minors and children. The bill was perfected on Thursday, thereby receiving first-round approval in the Senate.

Aside from the very important floor debate this week, much work was also conducted through the committee process. Thursday, the Senate Ways & Means Committee heard Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Senator Eric Schmitt, R-Ladue. The bill creates an income tax cut greater than the cut passed by the General Assembly during the 2014 legislative session.  Specifically, the bill states that each year the general revenue growth trigger is met, the top tax rate will be reduced by .1 percent. This cut is in addition to the reduction of personal income tax that is currently being reduced as a result of the legislation passed last session. The top rate will be continuously reduced until it is lowered from 6 percent to 5.5 percent. Senate Bill 4 also provides a similar cut to the business income deduction through a phase-in period, and up to 25 percent of business income.

I also had the opportunity to introduce new legislation on Thursday, which included Senate Bill 432. It would require heath carriers and health benefit plans to release the individual health benefit plan rates and designs no later than 45 days before the annual enrollment period. It is my hope that this legislation will provide consumers with a greater period of time under which they can study and compare benefit plans in order to make an informed decision.

Most importantly, I had the pleasure of meeting with several constituents who visited Jefferson City to advocate for particular issues. On Wednesday, I met with Diann Bomkamp and Jan Storm to discuss issues of importance to dental hygienists. If you would like to visit the Capitol and need help scheduling a meeting and/or a tour of the building, please be sure to contact my office.

Thank you for your interest in our work at the Capitol.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you.

Very Sincerely,

Robert F. (Bob) Onder, Jr.

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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