Author

Paul Hammel

Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.

Additional property tax relief may become part of compromise on income tax bill

By: - March 16, 2022

LINCOLN — Additional property tax relief may be working its way into a bill designed to reduce state income taxes. The development comes after the income tax proposal, Legislative Bill 939, advanced from first-round debate but only after the prime sponsor of the bill, State Sen. Lou Ann Linehan, promised to amend the bill before […]

Sen. Adam Morfeld

Morfeld wins court decision; ensures run for Lancaster County Attorney

By: - March 14, 2022

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by the Republican Party, which had challenged whether State Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, a Democrat, was qualified to run for Lancaster County Attorney. The high court ruled that Morfeld’s “routine activities” as the long-time executive director of a voting rights group, Civic Nebraska, […]

Nebraska lawmakers easily advance bill to allow year-round daylight saving time

By: - March 14, 2022

LINCOLN — Economic activity and tax revenue would increase and deaths would decrease if Nebraska went to year-around daylight saving time, a state senator argued Monday. State Sen. Tom Briese of Albion introduced a bill that would, under certain conditions, make daylight saving time year-round in the state. Legislative Bill 283 was given first-round approval […]

L.A. jury to decide if Fortenberry lied to federal agents or was ‘set up’ by them

By: - March 14, 2022

LINCOLN — Until last fall, U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry was expected to easily breeze to re-election in 2022 in his Republican-dominated district spanning eastern Nebraska. Instead, he’ll be fighting for his political life this week in a federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Fortenberry, who has represented the 1st Congressional District since 2005, is charged […]

Gun rights

After emotional vote, gun bill advances to second-round debate

By: - March 11, 2022

LINCOLN — In a dramatic vote Friday, state lawmakers advanced a bill that would allow Nebraskans to carry a concealed weapon without obtaining a $100 state permit, undergoing a criminal background check or passing a gun safety class. Legislative Bill 773 still faces two more rounds of debate, and at least one supporter indicated he […]

Memory expert blocked from testifying at Fortenberry trial, which will begin Wednesday

By: - March 11, 2022

LINCOLN — A federal judge has barred the testimony of a memory expert at the upcoming federal trial of U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and blocked defense lawyers from arguing that the lead prosecutor in the case is biased. U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Blumenfeld, in pretrial rulings, granted a request from prosecutors to bar the […]

Gun rights

Gun bill debate focuses on meaning of 2nd Amendment

By: - March 10, 2022

LINCOLN — After day-long debate Thursday over whether or not the 2nd Amendment entitles Nebraskans to carry concealed weapons, it remained uncertain whether a “constitutional carry” bill had the support to advance. State Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, who has worked for six years to allow the carrying of concealed weapons without a state permit […]

Floor of the Nebraska Legislature

Bill to require video archive of legislative hearings and floor debate advances

By: - March 10, 2022

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Legislature would maintain a video archive of legislative debate and hearings under a bill advanced Thursday to debate. Legislative Bill 777 is portrayed as increasing transparency and keeping up with at least 46 other states that already keep a library of legislative proceedings. Supporters, including State Sens. Julie Slama of Sterling […]

Big lake proposal

Big lake, with $500M to $1B pricetag, gets a lot of love from state lawmakers

By: - March 9, 2022

LINCOLN — The proposal for a 4,000-acre sandpit lake between Omaha and Lincoln got a lot of love Wednesday from state legislators but also plenty of questions about how much public access would be allowed. State Sens. John Cavanagh and Steve Lathrop, both of Omaha, led the questioning. Cavanaugh told the Nebraska Examiner he was […]

Gun rights

Constitutional carry bill is pulled from committee, slated for floor debate Thursday

By: - March 8, 2022

LINCOLN — State lawmakers took action Tuesday to ensure a debate on a so-called “constitutional carry” bill that would allow Nebraskans to carry a concealed handgun without a state permit or background check. But an analysis of a vote taken Tuesday — to pull the proposal from a committee — indicates it will be close […]

Casino bill advances with ‘de facto’ moratorium on new ‘racinos’

By: - March 8, 2022

LINCOLN — Nebraska gambling enthusiasts would have to make do with only six casinos at existing horse racing tracks, at least initially, under a bill advanced Tuesday to debate by the full Legislature. Legislative Bill 876 was advanced by the Legislature’s General Affairs Committee on a 7-0 vote, with one member not voting, after weeks […]

Lincoln Regional Center

Senators decry the lack of mental health treatment options in Nebraska

By: - March 8, 2022

LINCOLN — A person with mental illness goes off prescribed medications, gets unruly, and law enforcement is called. Maybe the person takes a swing at the responding cop, resulting in a trip to jail and maybe a conviction that leads to prison. State Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha said he’s seen the above scenario play […]