JEFFERSON CITY – Today, Senator Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, pre-filed three pieces of priority legislation for the 2016 legislative session.
The first bill filed strengthens ethics laws in Missouri by ending the “revolving door” by which legislators leave their positions and immediately become lobbyists. The bill would institute a two-year waiting period before a legislator could seek to lobby. The bill also bans all gifts to legislators, outlines what elected officials may do with funds left in their campaign account after leaving office, and prevents a legislator from accepting pay for a gubernatorial appointment until his or her term of office expires.
“As elected officials we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. We must regain the confidence and trust of Missourians who elect us to positions of trust. I believe these reforms are a step in that direction,” said Sen. Onder.
Senator Onder’s second bill filed would strengthen Missouri laws related to abortion and abortion providers in the state. The Senate Sanctity of Life Committee met several times during the interim to investigate whether Planned Parenthood engaged in any illegal activity and whether or not the Department of Health and Senior Services followed Missouri law in allowing a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic to open in Columbia.
“Information uncovered during our committee meetings this interim signaled a need to close loopholes being exploited by the Department of Health, Planned Parenthood, and the abortion industry,” said Sen. Onder.
The legislation requires a physician who performs abortions to have both admitting and surgical privileges as opposed to simply clinical privileges at a nearby hospital. It also requires a yearly unannounced inspection of abortion facilities in the state and provides inspectors with a framework of what to inspect for, including to ensure that no public funds are being used to promote abortion.
Senator Onder, who is a physician, said, “I’m hopeful that the changes proposed in this bill will clarify and strengthen laws passed to protect the health and safety of women.”
The final piece of legislation filed today includes one possible solution for funding Missouri’s transportation needs. The proposal would redirect a percentage of the state sales and use tax over a five-year period to the state road fund where it can be used to help fund transportation needs in the state.
“With over 120,000 miles of public roads and five major interstates, there are many miles of roads entrusted in our care. We have the 7th most miles of roads in the nation and yet we are 47th in transportation funding,” said Sen. Onder. “Transportation is a core function of government, and it is our responsibility to find a funding solution that recognizes this while also remaining good stewards of the hard-earned dollars entrusted to us by Missouri taxpayers,” said Sen. Onder.
Pre-filing of bills will remain open until the legislative session begins on January 6, 2015.