Paul Hammel

Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska state government and the state for decades. Previously with the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha Sun, he is a member of the Omaha Press Club's Hall of Fame. He grows hops, brews homemade beer, plays bass guitar and basically loves traveling and writing about the state. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.

Nebraska Examiner is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.

jim Pillen

Governor changes course, says he has a ‘Nebraska way’ to provide additional food for kids

By: - February 12, 2024

LINCOLN — Gov. Jim Pillen reversed course Monday, saying his administration will apply for $18 million in federal funds to provide extra funds for food over the summer for low-income families. The program is expected to deliver an additional $40 a month in grocery buying funds to an estimated 150,000 kids across the state who […]

Financial adviser who allegedly helped facilitate huge bank fraud still not charged

By: - February 12, 2024

Editor’s note: this story has been corrected to show that a receiver has collected assets so far to cover about 18 cents per $1 invested with Jesse Hill. LINCOLN — Nearly 14 months after the FBI searched Jesse Hill’s home and state regulators accused the Hickman financial adviser of fraud in helping a now-dead client […]

Advocates, past drug offenders call for end to lifetime ban on receiving food stamp benefits

By: - February 11, 2024

LINCOLN — Eighteen years ago, Kayla Tobey, then 22, was convicted of a Class 4 felony, possession of a controlled substance. She completed her probation long ago, but Tobey said she’s still being punished by a Nebraska law that imposes a lifetime ban on her, as a drug offender, from obtaining food stamps, now known […]

care center deserts

Senators, Sandhill residents tout bills to address ‘care deserts’ due to closings of senior care centers across Nebraska

By: - February 11, 2024

LINCOLN — Eleven state senators, as well as rural residents who now drive hours for medical care, called last week for an end to the expansion of “care deserts” in Nebraska. Those are counties, which now number 15, that no longer have a skilled nursing home or assisted living center. One care desert is in […]

Extasis Nightclub shooting

National Latino group calls for federal investigation of fatal Omaha shooting by off-duty police

By: - February 8, 2024

LINCOLN — A national Latino rights group called Thursday for a federal investigation into the weekend shooting of two Hispanic men by off-duty Omaha police officers. Fernando Rodriguez-Juarez and Jonathan Hernandez-Rosales were killed in a volley of 21 gunshots fired by two off-duty police officers working security at a South Omaha nightclub early Saturday morning. […]

Senator makes another attempt to repeal Nebraska’s inheritance taxes

By: - February 8, 2024

LINCOLN — State Sen. Rob Clements renewed his attempt to repeal the state’s inheritance tax on Thursday, arguing that it was “antiquated, regressive and arbitrary.” Clements, an Elmwood banker and tax preparer, said he’s had grieving clients who were presented tax bills of up to $50,000 after inheriting a farm. “They may have to sell […]

Nebraska Supreme Court hears arguments over public records case, high fees

By: - February 8, 2024

LINCOLN — The nonprofit news site Flatwater Free Press asked the Nebraska Supreme Court on Thursday to uphold a ruling that it was presented with an excessive $44,000 bill by a state agency to provide public documents. Attorney Daniel Gutman argued that state law is clear that government agencies cannot charge extra fees for “reviewing” […]

Pushback meets governor’s plan to ‘streamline’ approval of Nebraska livestock operations

By: - February 7, 2024

LINCOLN — A prominent pork producer’s plan to streamline and “take the emotion out” of approvals of new livestock operations generated a lot of negative emotions Wednesday. That hog farmer, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen, requested the introduction of a bill in the State Legislature to, as written, eliminate public hearings during county zoning board consideration […]

Wayne pitches shifting the cost and operation of county jails and county attorneys to the state

By: - February 7, 2024

LINCOLN — Amid pushback against Gov. Jim Pillen’s tax shift proposals, a Nebraska state senator will present alternatives Wednesday that he says could take nearly $300 million off the property tax rolls. Under two bills introduced by State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, the state would take over the management and financing of county jails […]

School choice

Passionate battle over school choice resumes in Nebraska Legislature

By: - February 6, 2024

LINCOLN — The battle over school choice returned to the State Legislature on Tuesday over a proposal to allocate $25 million a year directly from state coffers to organizations that hand out scholarships to private and parochial schools. Legislative Bill 1402 would serve as a replacement, according to its sponsor, for the Opportunity Scholarship Act […]

Bill advanced to close loophole in insurance coverage for procedures during a colonoscopy

By: - February 6, 2024

LINCOLN — State Sen. Carol Blood said she got a $900 surprise after undergoing a colonoscopy recently. The surprise was a $900 bill to remove polyps discovered during the screening procedure, which wasn’t covered by insurance, unlike the colonoscopy itself. On Tuesday, state senators voted 36-6 to advance a bill Blood introduced that she said […]

state tourism

Nebraska tourism slogan is no more. ‘Everything has a shelf life,’ official says

By: - February 5, 2024

LINCOLN — Frankly, it was a state tourism slogan that wasn’t for everybody. On Monday, the Nebraska tourism director announced publicly that it was ditching its edgy, 5-year-old tagline: “Nebraska, honestly it’s not for everyone.” Officials said the slogan was successful in getting previously uninterested travelers curious about visiting Nebraska, but it had also been criticized — […]