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This Week in the Missouri Senate for The Week of April 20, 2015

Hayley Clark stands next to her picture chosen by Sen. Onder to hang in the Capitol.

The overarching theme in the Senate this week was again the 2016 fiscal year budget. As you may remember from earlier columns, the Senate first debated the budget a few weeks ago before fully passing it and sending it back to the House for additional consideration. Both Senators and Representatives met in conference committees well into the early morning hours to reconcile the differing versions of the budget bills.

Many of the funding levels I’ve mentioned in previous columns remained, including an increase in funding for the state foundation formula which provides money to the public schools across Missouri, as well as additional funding for programs relating to higher education, including the ECHO program and the A+ Schools Program. Funding increases were also made in the area of public safety for disaster relief spending and programs to help lessen crime and violence against women.

Much of the discussion surrounding the budget dealt with House Bill 11, which pertains to funding for the Department of Social Services and as a result involves discussions of Missouri’s Medicaid program. While the bill included additional funding for Medicaid programs, including funding to restore dental benefits for Medicaid eligible adults who currently do not receive such services, it also contained the expansion of managed care statewide. That inclusion, which was in the first version of the bill passed by the Senate, was one that caused some concern among lawmakers, including myself, who felt that managed care does not save the state money as its supporters suggest. Despite those concerns, the budget bill ultimately passed.

Given that all bills have passed both chambers, they are now on the governor’s desk. The governor has 15 days to sign them into law or make line-item vetoes.  Given that time frame, lawmakers could have time to override any vetoes before the end of the 2015 session, as opposed to previous years where the budget passed later in session and thus did not allow lawmakers the opportunity to override prior to the September veto session.

Sen. Onder introduces constituents of the 2nd Senatorial District in the Chamber.

Aside from the budget, Senators also spent time this week debating, perfecting and third reading bills. One such bill was Senate Bill 145 sponsored by Senator David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, that requires health benefit plans to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders. The act requires that covered treatment be treatment that is deemed medically necessary. The Senate also perfected Senate Bill 366, sponsored by Senator Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, which exempts refunds of qualified higher education expenses from state income tax if they are received by beneficiaries in connection with a withdrawal for an eligible institution and contributed to a qualified tuition savings program within 60 days of that withdrawal. The bill also allows participants to have their income tax refunds placed directly into MOST accounts using direct deposit. These are only two of a long number of bills the Senate considered this week.

Sen. Onder discusses important
legislation with his colleagues.

As usual, I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with constituents and local elected leaders from St. Charles County, including Nick Guccione, Mayor of Wentzville, and Jim Pepper, a Council Member from O’Fallon.  Perhaps the most exciting visitor of the week was Hayley Clark who attends Duello Elementary in Lake St. Louis.  Hayley submitted her artwork, a magnificent turkey, to the Senate art exhibit contest and was selected to have her drawing hang in the Senate tunnel for all to see. Hayley, her sister and her mother joined us for a day at the Capitol to view her artwork and see the sights. If you or anyone you know would like to submit artwork to be considered for inclusion in the Senate art exhibit, please contact my office for more information.

As this week comes to a close, we have just three weeks left in the 2015 legislative session. I appreciate your continued support and ask that you please call or email if you have questions or concerns about any of the work we are doing in Jefferson City.


Best wishes for a wonderful weekend.

Very Sincerely,

Sen. Bob Onder
2nd 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  

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.