Bob Onder | St. Louis Public Radio

Bob Onder

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks to news reporters on the last day of the legislative session in Jefferson City on Friday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Mike Parson just finished up his first legislative session as governor. And by any objective measure, it was a good one for the GOP chief executive.

He wanted the Republican-controlled Legislature to approve his ideas around workforce development and transportation spending, and those lawmakers followed through. He was also able to deal with warring factions within his party, most notably six conservative senators that at times held up his priorities.

Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, speaks on the Senate floor Tuesday about his economic development legislation. The Senate passed Hough's bill after a 28 hour filibuster.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A nearly 28-hour filibuster of what is usually a simple procedural step ended Tuesday night with a big win for Missouri Gov. Mike Parson.

Over the objection of a group of six Republicans, the state Senate approved a major economic development package that extended a tax credit for General Motors, which is considering a $750 million expansion of its plant in Wentzville. Also included is a program to fund training for adults in “high-need” jobs, and a deal-closing fund that allows for up-front tax breaks to companies considering expansion.

Missouri lawmakers are trying to come up with a plan to fix Missouri's bridges.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on Thursday, April 11 at 3 p.m. with information about the new bonding plan passing:

Missouri lawmakers are close to accepting a plan that would finance the repair of the state's bridges.

The Senate approved a proposal that would have the state issue $300 million in bonds for bridge repair if Missouri receives matching federal funds. It would also spend $50 million directly on bridge projects.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt announces tougher punishments for people convicted of carjacking on Feb. 25, 2019, in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt wants more severe penalties for carjackers — especially when they use a deadly weapon.

A Roe v. Wade challenge could be coming. Will it come from Missouri?

Feb 25, 2019

With multiple abortion-related bills on the table for the 2019 session, some are raising questions about the possibility of a future legal challenge or an eventual Supreme Court hearing.

“In order to get Roe versus Wade changed, we need to push it further than we’ve pushed it in the past,” Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, said.


Note: This post has been updated to include comments from Sen. Bob Onder.

A bill that would allow people to bring guns onto public transit last week became the first of about 20 gun-related proposals to receive a hearing in the current Missouri legislative session.

Patrice Billings, the Democratic candidate for the 2nd District Senate seat.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Democrat Patrice Billings is the latest guest on the Politically Speaking podcast. The St. Charles County resident talked to St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies about her bid for Missouri’s 2nd Senatorial District seat.

Billings worked for nearly three decades as a helicopter pilot for the St. Louis County Police Department. She is squaring off against Sen. Bob Onder, a Lake Saint Louis Republican who recorded an episode of Politically Speaking earlier this month.

Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann to talk about Gov. Mike Parson’s transition in the state’s chief executive office — and what the legislature could deal with in 2019.

The Lake Saint Louis Republican represents a portion of St. Charles County. He’s running for re-election against Democrat Patrice Billings.

Joining Friday’s show via phone, state Sen. Bob Onder (R-Lake Saint Louis), at left, spoke in favor of Proposition A. Jack Cardetti, who was in studio for the conversation, spoke in opposition.
Courtesy of Bob Onder & St. Louis Public Radio

“Do the people of the state of Missouri want to adopt Senate Bill 19 ("Right-to-Work") … ?”

So begins Proposition A, which if passed would make Missouri the 28th right-to-work state in the country, prohibiting labor organizations from mandating union membership or union fees as a condition of employment.

Voters will decide the hotly contested matter during the Aug. 7 primary election. On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh examined both sides of the ballot issue.

File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation designed to combat human trafficking in Missouri is on its way to Gov. Eric Greitens.

The bill would require airports, bus and train stations, hospital emergency rooms, strip clubs, and any business with prior citations for prostitution to display posters that contain a national hotline number. Republican Bob Onder of Lake St. Louis sposoned the bill in the Senate. 

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, and Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, discuss abortion regulations on the Senate floor on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3 p.m. on Wednesday with information about Greitens signing the bill: JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Physicians will have to meet with women seeking abortions three days before the procedure and Missouri’s attorney general will have the ability to enforce abortion laws under the bill that Gov. Eric Greitens signed into law on Wednesday.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden confirmed that the Republican governor signed Sen. Andrew Koenig's bill into law on Wednesday afternoon. Koenig's bill, which will go into effect in late October, passed on Tuesday by a 22-9 vote and came after a Democratic filibuster. Supporters say the legislation will make clinics safer, while critics contend it will make it harder for women to obtain abortions. The legislation may also complicate Planned Parenthood’s bid to expand throughout the state.

Downtown St. Louis,  looking east
File photo | Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon

After the difficult process this year of piecing together Missouri’s budget, lawmakers believe they’ve found a way to get more money for vital state services: Cutting tax credits.

But a report from state Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office shows that even with big changes to popular incentives, it could be years before the state saves a significant amount of money.

Sens. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, and Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, talk with St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies at Picasso's coffeehouse in St. Charles. June 21, 2017
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Politically Speaking podcast team of Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies were on the road again Wednesday, this time to Picasso’s coffeehouse in the historic downtown of St. Charles. The two welcomed state Sens. Bob Onder and Bill Eigel, Republicans who represent much of St. Charles County.

Onder, of Lake St. Louis, and Eigel, of Weldon Spring, focused on a variety issues and fielded a number of tough questions from the audience. Each praised Gov. Eric Greitens for calling a special legislative session, now underway, to deal with the abortion issue. Both are outspoken opponents of abortion.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

As promised, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is calling lawmakers back to Jefferson City — for the second time — to target organizations and local governments that support abortion rights.

The session begins next Monday. “I'm pro-life, and I believe that we need to defend life and promote a culture of life here in the state of Missouri,” the governor said in his announcement on Facebook.

A volunteer with Coalition for Life St. Louis, an anti-abortion group, waves as a car exits the Planned Parenthood parking lot on Forest Park Avenue. Volunteers hand out anti-abortion pamphlets to passers-by.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For proof of Missouri’s prominent place in the national abortion debate, one only needs to look at the two developments energizing abortion rights and anti-abortion activists.

Due to a recent federal court ruling, Missouri, which only has one abortion clinic at the moment, likely will see several others open in the coming months — a rarity in the U.S. And St. Louis will be engaged in a legal battle over a new ordinance that bars employers and landlords from discriminating against women who obtain abortions.

Republican Sen. Rob Schaaf, of St. Joseph, sponsored the Senate drug monitoring bill.
Courtesy of Harrison Sweazea, Missouri Senate Communications

Rob Schaaf rose Monday to speak on the Missouri Senate floor, capping what seemed to be a tough few days. One of his fellow GOP senators had highlighted how the 60-year-old from St. Joseph rented a room from a well-known lobbyist. And the nonprofit linked to Gov. Eric Greitens was making personal attacks on Schaaf’s political decision integrity — and giving out his cellphone number.

 

But Schaaf made it abundantly clear he wasn’t slinking away, issuing a blunt message to the Republican governor.

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies covered the Republican National Convention last week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

CLEVELAND – Bev Ehlen, a Missouri GOP delegate from Warren County, has long been a fan of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and had hoped he’d be the party’s nominee for president.

But now that Donald Trump has the nomination, Ehlen is upset that Cruz is opting against an endorsement.

“I was very disappointed’’ by Cruz’s Wednesday night speech, Ehlen said. “I’m probably the biggest Ted Cruz supporter you can find. I was expecting so much more because he’s such an articulate speaker. I was expecting a home run, and I didn’t get it.”

Bob Onder
Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Bob Onder. The Lake Saint Louis Republican was a guest on the show in 2014 soon after he was elected to his first term in the Missouri Senate.

Onder represents part of St. Charles County. His district includes most of that county’s fast-growing western suburbs, including Wentzville, O’Fallon, Lake Saint Louis and part of St. Peters.

State Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A Senate-sponsored constitutional amendment that would shield businesses in the wedding industry from legal repercussions if they denied their services to same-sex couples is headed to the House. The amendment passed 23-7.

People mill in the hallway leading to the Missouri Senate chamber.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

At the tail end of a recent episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, state Sen. Jill Schupp was asked a fairly straightforward question: Had her colleagues learned anything from the resignations of John Diehl and Paul LeVota, two lawmakers who stepped down last year amid accusations of inappropriate behavior toward female interns?

The Creve Coeur Democrat provided a pessimistic response:

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Since a high-profile sex scandal was partly responsible for torpedoing the end of the 2015 session, some lawmakers have made improving the ethical climate of Jefferson City a priority.

But even though the Missouri House passed a flurry of bills early this session, some Missouri senators think the ethics push so far is missing the mark.

Gov. Jay Nixon says legislators blew their chance to have a say on bonding for a stadium in St. Louis.
File photo by Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Gov. Jay Nixon is facing explicit warnings from key legislators that they won’t approve payments on bonds for a new football stadium on St. Louis’ riverfront if they aren’t first approved by a legislative or public vote.

But the Democratic governor is dismissing the threats as too little, too late – pointing to inaction during the past legislative session.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, is set to resign on Friday. Some feel his departure could serve as a departure to a Senate ruled by compromise.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The imminent departure of Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey amounts to an end of an era for the Missouri General Assembly, at least for Missouri Public Service Commissioner Scott Rupp.

Rupp – a former Republican senator from Wentzville – served in the Missouri House and Missouri Senate with Dempsey for years. He said the soon-to-be former St. Charles Republican senator was part of a very exclusive club within the Missouri General Assembly. 

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, wait out the final hours of the Missouri Senate's session. Both men were strong proponents of "right to work" legislation, which is opposed strongly by labor unions.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It wasn't particularly surprising that state Sen. Bob Onder was pushing hard to get so-called "right to work" legislation through a seemingly intractable Missouri Senate.

The Lake Saint Louis Republican campaigned last year in support of right to work, which bars arrangements that force workers to pay union dues if a majority voted to organize. He supported that measure even though the population of union members has steadily increased in St. Charles County, which may be why his two unsuccessful GOP rivals opposed right to work during the campaign.

Missouri Republican Party Chairman Ed Martin, left, lost elections for Congress and for attorney general. While those experiences can be instructive, he says losing sometimes "just plain stinks."
Courtesy of Ed Martin's Facebook page

When Ed Martin sent out an e-mail last week with the phrase “You’re A Loser” in the subject line, this writer thought the chairman of the Missouri Republican Party was being unneighborly.

In actuality, Martin – who, for full disclosure, lives in the same St. Louis neighborhood as I do – penned a  letter on how it feels to lose an election. Even though his party experienced a very successful mid-term election cycle, Martin wrote that not every Republican candidate is basking in the glow of victory -- and they probably aren't feeling that great right now.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio reporters Chris McDaniel, Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcomed future state Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, to the Politically Speaking podcast. 

Onder, a doctor and an attorney, first burst on to the political scene in 2006 when he was elected to the Missouri House.

His tenure in the Missouri General Assembly was brief, because he left to make an unsuccessful bid in 2008 for the U.S. House in the (now defunct) Ninth Congressional District.

Rex Sinquefield
Courtesy of Rex Sinquefield's website

When it comes to donating to Missouri candidates and causes, retired financier Rex Sinquefield may subscribe to the idea of “going big or going home.” 

This past election campaign is no exception. Sinquefield has  given out around $4.4 million so far this year to support ballot initiatives, candidates and friendly political groups. That money has flowed directly -- or through outside groups -- to a host of candidates who competed in last week’s primary elections.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Bob Onder completed his comeback into state legislative life with a victory in the hard-fought – and expensive – contest for the 2nd District state Senate seat. 

The Lake Saint Louis Republican's win capped off a relatively light slate of legislative races -- as well as some unusually active local contests.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 8 p.m. on Monday with news about Schneider repaying her loan.)

Vicki Schneider got on the phone earlier this year with Bob Onder after he loaned himself $200,000 for his state Senate bid. 

She said she asked a fairly simple question of one of her opponents for the St. Charles County-based 2nd District seat: "Do you want me to help you spend that?"

“And he just laughed,” she said.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Running for a seat in the Missouri Senate is tough. It takes months of door-to-door campaigning, an endless dash for cash, and a thick skin to win a competitive race. 

But Chuck Gatschenberger and Vicki Schneider may have a secret weapon: Both candidates in the race for the western St. Charles-based 2nd senatorial district had their campaign logos and faces imprinted on their trucks.

Schneider said she wrapped her truck because she “wanted people to know that they’re voting for someone that is just like them.”

Pages