April 5, 2017
In what might be described as a new low even for the GOP led Missouri Legislature, Senator Bob Onder (R-SD2, Lake St. Louis) proposed an amendment to a bill to rename the St. Louis Zoological Park to “Midwest Abortion Sanctuary City Zoological Park”. The amendment was to SB49 written by Senator Gina Walsh allowing St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, and Franklin Counties to propose a 1/8th of a cent sales tax to fund the St. Louis Zoo.
When asked, Senator Walsh said, “You can’t make this stuff up.” On that, she is correct.
The St. Louis Zoo was recently named as the Nation’s “Best Zoo.”; and to involve this famed institution in personal politics is sacrilege.
You can read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article by Kurt Ericson. In the article, Senator Gina Walsh is quoted, “All I want is to give the people in the greater St. Louis area an opportunity to have their voices heard at the ballot box in support of the St. Louis Zoo, an attraction that strengthens our economy and is a point of pride for the region,” Walsh said. “I’m frustrated that my nonpartisan legislation would be wrapped up in an unrelated issue, and I hope the political games end soon so we can get back to the important work before us.”
Senator Bob Onder is not new to controversy. Last year, he sponsored an onerous constitutional amendment (SJR 39) called “A Religious Freedom Bill.” In reality, it was a bill masquerading as a way to discriminate against LGBTQIA Missourians. Even former Onder campaign donors such as Express Scripts, Pfizer, Burns & McDonnell, and Bryan Cave expressed concern over Onder’s proposed constitutional amendment. Business groups such as the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry also opposed the amendment for moral and economic reasons. This bill was so out of line with Missouri values it couldn’t even get a vote in the Missouri House.
Senator Gina Walsh (D-SD 13, Bellefountain Neighbors) discusses the state of the 2017 legislative session. Senator Gina Walsh was elected to the Missouri State Senate in 2012. Prior to her service in the Senate, Senator Walsh served four terms in the Missouri House of Representatives.