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This Week in the Missouri Senate for The Week of May 11, 2015

Last week the Missouri Senate debated and finally passed several bills that have been the topic of recent columns, including the school transfer issue and legislation pertaining to the Mack’s Creek law.

Early in the week, Senators debated the conference committee report of House Bill 42, commonly referred to as the school transfer law. The major goal of this legislation was to reduce the number of students transferring out of their local districts so they could get a quality education close to home. To support that effort, the bill addresses school accreditation by accrediting each school building individually rather than through accrediting entire districts. The bill allows students to first consider transferring to accredited schools within their district of residence. If there is no capacity in that building the student may apply to the education authority to transfer to an accredited school in another district in the same or adjoining county. The bill also expands options for virtual and charter schools to ensure that students have an option that ensures their best possible chances for success.

The Senate also debated and finally passed the conference committee report of Senate Bill 5, commonly referred to as the Mack’s Creek legislation. The bill is designed to reform the municipal court system in the State of Missouri by limiting the amount of money a municipality may make from traffic tickets and fines. That threshold was set at 12.5 percent in St. Louis County and 20 percent for the rest of the state, which is decreased from the 30 percent provided for in current law. The bill also requires municipalities to show a balanced annual budget, a system of accounting and cash management, adequate levels of insurance and to provide access to the full list of municipal ordinances.

Sen. Onder with Ron Owens, Jr. Vice Commander of VFW Post 5327
in Wentzville, MO

The House and Senate both overrode the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 24.  Welfare reform was passed by Congress in 1986, but by and large Missouri has ignored the flexibility given it in administering welfare programs. Senate Bill 25 limits lifetime eligibility of those enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program from five years to three years and nine months. TANF was meant to be a short-term option to help Missourians get back on their feet and into the workforce, not a way of life. The bill also enforces welfare work requirements, and it sets aside two percent of funds for alternatives to abortion programs and programs that encourage responsible fatherhood and healthy marriages.

The Senate also took up numerous House bills for passage including House Bill 769, for which I was the Senate sponsor. This bill allows for “direct primary care,” an innovative model of delivering and purchasing primary care services. For a retainer fee, patients have unlimited access to their doctors for a full range of comprehensive primary care services including urgent care, preventative care and regular check-ups. Such agreements are completely voluntary and generally allow patients greater access and more time with their physician at lower costs.

Late in the week the Senate again returned to debate a potential hike in the gas tax as a means of funding transportation in the state. Senators discussed whether or not raising taxes was the best way to approach transportation funding or if other measures were preferred. After several hours of debate the bill was “laid over,” which means it has the potential to be brought up on the Senate floor before session ends.

I also had the great privilege of visiting with friends and constituents this week, including Ron Owens, the Jr. Vice Commander of the VFW Post 5327. Mr. Owens and his wife were in the Capitol to receive a senior service award from Lt. Gov. Kinder. It’s always an honor to meet and thank those who have fought for our freedom.

This week marks the final week of the 2015 legislative session. I look forward to providing you with an update of our work and an overview of our session thereafter.

Enjoy the 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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Elected to the Senate in 2014.