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In Memory of Missouri State Auditor Thomas A. Schweich

Dear Friends:

This week, the State of Missouri lost a man who was arguably the finest auditor to ever serve this state. Tom Schweich was a brilliant man and a true public servant. His resume was unparalleled in Missouri politics. He served as Chief of Staff to Senator John C. Danforth during the investigation of the Branch Davidian tragedy in Waco, Texas, and later served as Chief of Staff to three United States Ambassadors for the United Nations, including John Bolton. Schweich eventually became the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Acting Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs on the federal level. He was later awarded the rank of Ambassador. Prior to his public service, Tom practiced law at Bryan Cave after graduating from Yale, and later Harvard Law School. He was a friend to many, including myself. It is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of such an amazing man, truly devoted to his work and state, and an individual I am proud to have known. Tom is survived by his wife Kathy and two children. Please keep them in your prayers during their time of grief.

Very Sincerely,


Robert F. (Bob) Onder, Jr.

This Week in the Missouri Senate

This week, the Missouri Senate ended on a very somber note after hearing of the loss of Auditor Tom Schweich. Many legislators gathered Thursday afternoon in the House Chamber to remember Tom, his fiery spirit and his exceptional service to the state. As public servants, we sometimes take for granted those who are by our side through the journey and supporting us along the way. The service reminded me of the importance of family and the need to hold close those we love. 

Prior to Thursday’s tragic news, senators spent much of the floor time early in the week focusing on Senate Bill 1, commonly referred to as the school transfer bill. As mentioned in last week’s column, the bill continues the debate on how to address the need to provide quality education to students stuck in failing school districts, a debate that has been ongoing in the legislature for years. We spent considerable time last week and additional time this week discussing the issue and attempting to find a compromise position on the provisions contained therein. I applaud the hard work of the senators who devoted so much time to this issue in the interim and this session. The bill was perfected this week, thereby giving it first-round approval. 

Additional discussion on the floor this week included the discussion of Senate Bill 116, sponsored by Senator Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit. The creates

Sen. Onder with representatives of the UMSL Business School.

an exemption from the proof of residency and domicile for purposes of school registration when the family of a student living in Missouri co-locates to either live with other families in a military support community or with other family members because one or both of their parents are stationed out of state during to military service. I applaud Senator Kraus’ efforts to help ease the burdens on Missouri’s military families. 

Some of this week's committee highlights include hearing Senate Bill 248, sponsored by Senator Kurt Schafer, R-Columbia. The bill prevents public universities from denying a religious student organization any right granted to other student organizations on campus. There have been a number of cases of universities expelling religious groups, including well-known groups such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Campus Crusade for Christ, from campus with various policies.  I commend Sen. Schaefer for his efforts to protect the religious freedoms of our students.

I also had the opportunity to hear testimony on a bill referred to as “Simon’s Law,” in the Veterans' Affairs and Health Committee meeting this week. The bill requires heath care facilities to provide policies relating to life-sustaining procedures in writing to parents or legal guardians of minor patients. It also states that such facilities may not withhold life-sustaining measures such as food or medication without the written permission of at least one parent or legal guardian and provides that a parent or guardian must give permission before do-not-resuscitate or other physician orders may be instituted. The testimony during the hearing was very touching as one witness discussed the outrageous and tragic loss of her son in a circumstance similar to what the bill hopes to prevent.

Thus far, this has been one of our busiest weeks in the Capitol in terms of visitors. Physicians and students filled the halls on Tuesday for the annual White Coat advocacy day. It was nice to see so many colleagues and friends in the building. I also had the opportunity to spend time with lawyers from the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. 

Visitors weren’t the only reason that made for a busy week in the Capitol. Thursday was the last day for Senators to file bills for the 2015.

legislative session. Once all was said and done a total of 568 bills were filed in the Senate along with a number resolutions, concurrent resolutions and joint resolutions.  Almost double that number have already been filed in the House. The House's filing deadline remains open after this week.

In closing, I want to thank each of you for your words of encouragement and support as I represent you in Jefferson City. Again, I ask that you keep the family of State Auditor Tom Schweich in your prayers at this very difficult time.

Sen. Onder with Lisle Wescott, President, and other representatives from St. Joseph Hospital West in Lake St. Louis.

Sen. Onder with representatives of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Sen. Onder with constituents from the 2nd Senatorial District.


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 Sam.Saffa@senate.mo.gov.  

For constituent questions or concerns, please contact my Director of Constituent Services Theckla Spainhower at Theckla.Spainhower@senate.mo.gov 

For questions pertaining to legislation, please contact my Chief of Staff and Legislative Director Jennae Neustadt at Jennae.Neustadt@senate.mo.gov.

You can reach my Capitol office at (573) 751-1282.  You can also e-mail me personally at Bob.Onder@senate.mo.gov.

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 sam.saffa@senate.mo.gov 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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