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This Week in the Missouri Senate for March 9, 2015

Much of our time in the Missouri Senate this week was spent in debate on various tort reform proposals on the Senate floor. Those proposals included Senate Bill 239, sponsored by Senator Dan Brown, R-Rolla, which would restore a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.  This would restore a provision of the major tort reform bill passed by and signed into law by Governor Matt Blunt in 2005.

In 2005 the General Assembly sought to reform the state’s civil liability system by placing caps on jury awards for “pain and suffering” in medical malpractice cases.  In 2012 the Missouri Supreme Court struck down a portion of the 2005 law, including the removal of non-economic damages caps. SB 239 was brought forward as a response to the court’s decision. The bill provides clarity in the law, has the potential to lower malpractice costs, and thereby help to maintain current doctors and attract new ones to Missouri.  After several hours of debate, the bill was brought up for third reading and final passage thereby heading to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

In addition to the many hours spent in floor debate this week, Senators worked hard in Senate committees to make up for lost time in previous weeks. On Monday I had the opportunity to present Senate Bill 400 to the Senate Financial & Governmental Organizations Committee. SB 400 provides that a state may not require maintenance of certification as a condition of physician licensure to practice medicine in the state. Currently, doctors are required to complete 25 continuing educational hours each year, along with various other requirements, to maintain an active medical license. The concern is that requiring the goal, in sponsoring this legislation, is to ensure that Missourians have access to healthcare by encouraging those doctors to stay in Missouri rather than traveling to other states where the requirements to practice are less burdensome.

On Thursday I presented Senate Bill 431 to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs and Health Committee.  The bill would require any changes to an interpretation or application of law regarding the requirements for reimbursements for MO HealthNet services to be treated as a new rule. Recently the Nixon administration has been acting in an arbitrary manner, changing rules regarding taxation and MO HealthNet, and retroactively applying these.  My bill requires the Administration to follow the law for creating rules, not making them up as it goes along.

Senator Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, filed similar legislation this year for new interpretations by the Missouri Department of Revenue that were also forcing Missourians to pay fines for past behavior based on a new interpretation of the law. Retroactive application is unfair and unacceptable.  SB 431 ensures that providers get the proper notice when rules impacting their industry are reinterpreted and applied.

This week was also marked by numerous visitors to the office.  I enjoyed spending time with all those who stopped by including constituents and friends who attend the pro-life rally day and students from Holt High School who had an opportunity to perform in the rotunda in honor of arts education week.  I also had the privilege of meeting with Katelyn Waidmann from O’Fallon.  Katelyn is currently a junior at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  She visited the Capitol to take part in the annual undergraduate research day where she displayed the findings of her recent study to examine students’ writing performance. It is great to see the hard work that Katelyn and other students are putting toward undergraduate research in areas that can be of great assistance as we work to create thoughtful policy here in Missouri.

Before concluding I want to take a moment to recognize the two police officers wounded in Ferguson earlier in the week. The situation reminds us of the fact that our first responders put their lives on the line each and every day for our safety.  Let’s keep the families of those officers in our prayers. 

Next week will be the last week before our Senate spring break.  I look forward to providing you with a full recap of our work during the first half of the session at that time. 

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend with your families.

Very Sincerely,

Sen. Bob Onder
2nd District

Hiring Our Heros

I wanted to share with you information on two upcoming events in our state that are of service to veterans. The University of Phoenix, in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is cosponsoring the 2015 Hiring our Heroes hiring fair.

These two events are scheduled for April 14, 2015 in St. Louis and April 21, 2015 in Kansas City. This event is for veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses.

Our veterans have given so much to our country and our state. Now is the time to reach out to those who fought for us, and help improve the lives of those who selfishly fought so that we may live better lives.

Pictures of the Week

Sen. Onder with constituents from AMEREN

Pro-Life Rally in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday

Holt High school students perform in the Capitol Rotunda

Pro-Life Rally in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday

Holt High school students perform in the Capitol Rotunda

Sen. Onder with students from Holt High school

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.

Sen. Onder Serves a Portion of St. Charles County in the Missouri Senate.

Click the map above to view Missouri
Senate District 2.


Contact Information:

State Capitol Building, Rm. 226
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101
(573) 751-1282


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Sen. Onder's Legislative Report.


Elected to the Senate in 2014.