Paul Hammel

Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. 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.

Nebraska State Capitol Building

Ricketts, Orr and all 13 women Nebraska state senators condemn Herbster over groping allegations

By: - April 14, 2022

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s governor, a former governor and all 13 women senators in the State Legislature issued statements Thursday expressing horror at allegations of groping aimed at Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster. Gov. Pete Ricketts, former Gov. Kay Orr and the state senators also expressed support for the eight women who came forward, including Republican […]

Sen. Justin Wayne

Amendment to Holocaust bill fires up debate as session winds down

By: - April 13, 2022

LINCOLN — A sometimes fiery debate erupted Wednesday in the State Legislature over whether Nebraska schoolchildren are learning enough about slavery and genocide. The discussion was spiced by complaints about the power of the governor. The dialogue came over the last bill to be considered for passage by state lawmakers in the 2022 session, a […]

mike groene

Probe concludes Sen. Mike Groene’s actions were ‘boorish, brainless and bizarre,’ but not unlawful

By: - April 13, 2022

LINCOLN — A seven-week investigation into actions of former State Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte has concluded that his behavior was “boorish, brainless and bizarre,” but not illegal. Groene, who had served six years in the Nebraska Legislature, resigned in February shortly after allegations surfaced that he had allegedly taken sexually inappropriate photographs of […]

ricketts tax cut

Ricketts signs ‘historic’ tax cut bill into law, credits teamwork

By: - April 13, 2022

LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts took a victory lap Wednesday with supporters as he signed into law a comprehensive tax cut bill that is projected to provide $948 million in tax breaks a year by 2028. During a ceremony in the State Capitol Rotunda, Ricketts said Legislative Bill 873 would add up to $3.4 billion […]


Legislature takes rare step of rejecting Ricketts’ pick for Nebraska Brand board

By: - April 12, 2022

LINCOLN — Continued turmoil over switching the way cattle are branded and identified translated Tuesday into the rare rejection of an appointment by Gov. Pete Ricketts. On a 35-0 vote, the Nebraska Legislature agreed with a committee recommendation to reject the confirmation of Terry Cone of Burwell to another term on the Nebraska Brand Committee. […]

Big lake proposal

Big lake, Perkins County Canal, investments in North and South Omaha get final OK

By: - April 12, 2022

LINCOLN — A 4,000-acre lake between Omaha and Lincoln, a water-preserving canal on the South Platte River and a $335-million investment in North and South Omaha all got a final green light Tuesday from the Nebraska Legislature. They were among a marathon list of nearly 100 bills given final-round approval by state lawmakers as they […]

computer technology

Nebraska legislative bill to require computer technology classwork for graduation

By: - April 12, 2022

LINCOLN — In Arkansas, enrollment in technology-related college courses increased 10-fold after the state passed a requirement that school kids pass computer-related classes.  “Now, they have companies moving there because they have skilled workers,” said Mike Cassling, the CEO of an Omaha health care tech firm. Cassling was among advocates for an increase in computer […]

brett lindstrom

Lindstrom pulls bill on ‘quick action closing fund’ from agenda

By: - April 11, 2022

LINCOLN — A proposal to give Nebraska governors a “quick action” fund to close economic development deals ran into charges Monday that it would become a “slush fund” to hand out political favors. The idea was eventually pulled from the agenda, dealing a legislative setback to its sponsor, State Sen. Brett Lindstrom of Omaha, a […]


Concealed carry handgun bill comes up two votes short and fails to advance

By: - April 11, 2022

LINCOLN — In a surprise, state lawmakers failed to muster enough votes Monday to advance a concealed carry handgun bill, called “constitutional carry” by some. The vote to invoke cloture was 31-9, two short of what’s needed to stop a filibuster and advance a bill. It was also four fewer senators than the number who […]

Hastings meatpacker pays fine for failing to report injuries to workers

By: - April 11, 2022

LINCOLN — A Hastings, Nebraska, meat processing plant has agreed to pay a $3,000 fine for failing to report injuries to workers in order to avoid paying higher premiums for workers compensation insurance. The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, which investigated and prosecuted the case, announced the settlement Friday against Noah’s Ark, a New Jersey-based corporation. […]

Lincoln Regional Center

Proposal would ensure treatment priority for defendants deemed incompetent

By: - April 8, 2022

LINCOLN — Defendants deemed incompetent to stand trial would be given priority for treatment at the Lincoln Regional Center under a bill given first-round approval Friday in the Nebraska Legislature. State Sen. Steve Lathrop called it a “human dignity issue” during floor debate, saying it was inhumane to lock up someone with a  mental illness […]

Time runs out on Nebraska proposal to increase penalties for assaulting a bus driver

By: - April 8, 2022

LINCOLN — Omaha bus driver Joe Boncordo told state lawmakers in February that while behind the wheel he’s been hit, spit on and threatened with a knife. One woman came at him with a Taser while was driving but “didn’t get me,” he said, though she threatened to kill him or have “my boys” kill […]