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Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 35th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.
You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.
Sen. Raymond Aguilar
It has been a busy few weeks in Lincoln. We’ve been using our past few days of the legislative session to hold hearings in both the morning and the afternoon to minimize the potential disruption the legislative process would have if the Legislature had to temporarily suspend session due to a COVID-19 outbreak. It’s unusual, given that we would typically have session in the morning and hearings in the afternoon, but it’s the best tool we have for making sure that all bills have their required public hearing and get adequate time to be considered on the legislative floor.
Co-sponsoring a bill is one of the best tools we have in the Legislature to offer support and legitimacy to other pieces of legislation. I consider each offer to co-sponsor carefully, and exercise my right to decline more than I agree to sign. So far, I’ve co-sponsored 15 bills in the 107th Legislature, and I’d like to highlight a few that you may find interesting.
LB241, introduced by Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha, would create a set of COVID-19 standards for meatpacking plants in Nebraska to implement, including social distancing, screenings and cleaning. We’ve seen our meatpacking plants make significant strides to protect their workers since the pandemic began, but I believe it’s important that we standardize what those precautionary measures are and how they are implemented. We must be mindful that the well-being of our local meatpackers is in the interest of our whole community.
LB4, introduced by Sen. Tom Briese of Albion, increases the tuition credit provided to enlisted members of the Selected Reserves and partially removes stipulations restricting when an enlisted member may utilize the credit. Our troops in the Selected Reserves deserve our support when it comes to education, much in the same way we support education in the National Guard.
LB283, also introduced by Sen. Briese, would shift Nebraska to year-round daylight saving time, should we be joined in an agreement by enough neighboring states. The time changes we currently experience were predicated by a wartime need to save fuel and written into the law later for the sake of standardizing the time for the transportation industry. The benefits of the time changes are no longer obvious or relevant, and I believe LB283 is an effective way for Nebraska to stop the time changes without significant economic consequence.
LB417, introduced by Sen. Steve Halloran of Hastings, would permit off-duty police officers to carry a firearm on school property. We put our police officers through a rigorous firearm training process and that training doesn’t disappear when they go off-duty. By allowing our off-duty officers to carry their firearms on school properties, we create one more potential barrier for those seeking to harm to our children and our community.
Lastly, I’d like to highlight my ability to introduce commemorative resolutions as a form of recognition for major accomplishments and achievements. Should you be aware of anything you believe would be worthy of recognition in the Grand Island area, please reach out to my office and let my staff or me know. These typically commemorate sports championships, major scholarships, major anniversaries, fellowship acceptances or other significant accomplishments. It’s an honor to be able to recognize Grand Islanders before the entirety of the Legislature, and I would appreciate any recommendations you are able to provide.
As always, contact me with your support, opposition or questions on any legislative bill or issue. My legislative aide, Gerald Fraas, and administrative assistant, Amanda Johnson, are also available to assist you with matters related to the state of Nebraska and the Legislature. You can follow along with the Nebraska Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov.
Published in the Grand Island Independent, 2/18/2021
It has been 12 years since I last served in the Legislature, and it’s an honor, once again, to serve as your representative. Much has changed in the nation, state and district since I last served in the body: three presidents, a new governor, 9,694 pieces of introduced legislation, a new hospital, and the State Fair now being held at Fonner Park. The world around us has changed, and so, too, have the dynamics of legislating. I’m working hard to adjust to these new realities and to best represent your needs.
This session, I was named to the Natural Resources Committee, led by Sen. Bruce Bostelman of Brainard, and the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee, led by Sen. Matt Williams of Gothenburg. I look forward to working with these committees to further the interests of Grand Island and Nebraska.
A total of 684 bills have been introduced this year. I have introduced four pieces of legislation, all of which were brought to my attention by individuals or groups from, or related to, Grand Island:
— LB224, an act that will remove a restriction preventing the appointment of a county surveyor, should one not be elected, who resides within the county itself. Currently, counties in which nobody runs for the office of county surveyor, or which have a vacancy, must appoint a licensed surveyor who does not reside within the county. What was once seen as a law that maintained the integrity of the political process for electing county surveyors has now become a burden on the county itself, both financially and logistically. My legislation would remove the requirement that the surveyor be from outside of the county and allow county governments to recruit an appointed county surveyor locally.
— LB371, an act that will add “games of chance” to the list of permitted activities at a racetrack where a fair (county or the State Fair) is occurring. The current language could require that, should Fonner Park construct a casino, said casino would need to close down during the duration of the State Fair. The racetracks in Hastings and Columbus find themselves in similar situations, serving as the venue for the Adams County Fairfest and Platte County Fair, respectively. We want to be sure that Grand Islanders are able to continue working without interruption and that fairgoers are able to enjoy all that Grand Island has to offer.
— LB536, an act that makes changes to a fund derived from a portion of pari-mutuel bets placed at Nebraska racetracks. The fund was designed to promote horse breeding, agriculture and horse racing in Nebraska, but has statutory limitations dictating that these funds can only be spent at the racetrack where they were derived. LB536 would require racetracks to remit those funds to the State Racing Commission and removes the stipulation on where the funds can be spent so that smaller racetracks will be able to benefit from these funds equitably.
— LB603, an act that will require online marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay, to collect identifying information of all Nebraska high-volume sellers using their platform, and make that information available publicly. There is a rising trend among thieves and crime syndicates of selling stolen goods with relative anonymity online, and it’s important that our prosecutors have the tools needed to investigate and prosecute these individuals. We need to assure that online sellers follow the same laws as Nebraska brick-and-mortar retail sellers.
All of these bills will have a public committee hearing. I intend to keep you updated as they progress through the legislative process.
As always, please contact me with your support, opposition or questions on any legislative bill or issue. My legislative aide, Gerald Fraas, and administrative assistant, Amanda Johnson, are also available to assist you with matters related to the state of Nebraska and the Legislature. You can follow along with the Nebraska Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov.
Thank you for allowing me the privilege to represent you in the Unicameral.
Published in the Grand Island Independent, 1/28/2021