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.

brett lindstrom

Governor would get ‘quick action fund’ to close deals under bill advanced Thursday

By: - April 7, 2022

LINCOLN — A Nebraska governor would have a “quick action” fund to help close deals on new “high impact” businesses or expansions of companies under a bill given narrow, first-round approval Thursday. State Sen. Brett Lindstrom of Omaha sponsored the idea, telling colleagues that in Oklahoma, the governor has used its “quick action closing fund” […]


Praise, worries greet final-round approval of Nebraska’s $900-million tax cut package

By: - April 7, 2022

LINCOLN — What’s billed as the largest tax cut in state history received final approval Thursday by state lawmakers, amid praise and worries. Legislative Bill 873, which phases in cuts in state individual and corporate tax rates, increases state property tax credits and eliminates certain state taxes by 2025, got third-round approval on a 43-0 […]

Nebraska State Capitol Building

Nebraska lawmakers vote to override Gov. Pete Ricketts’ budget vetoes

By: - April 7, 2022

LINCOLN — Nebraska lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Thursday to override Gov. Pete Ricketts’ budget vetoes. The governor had cut funding for a hike in provider rates, community corrections programs, urban housing and completion of a bike-hike trail, saying funds needed to be preserved for tax cuts. State Sen. John Stinner of Gering, who heads the budget-writing […]

Jen Day

‘Trigger’ abortion bill fails by two votes to overcome eight-hour filibuster

By: - April 6, 2022

LINCOLN — After an eight-hour debate Wednesday, the Nebraska Legislature was unable to overcome a filibuster against a bill that would ban abortions in Nebraska if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. The vote to invoke cloture to allow Legislative Bill 933 to advance from first-round debate failed by two […]

Nebraska State Penitentiary

Criminal justice reform bill goes down in flames after lengthy debate

By: - April 6, 2022

LINCOLN — For the second time in seven years, state lawmakers have rejected the advice of national authorities on how to reduce spending on prisons.  On Wednesday, a filibuster blocked a bill enacting criminal justice reforms developed after a months-long study in conjunction with the Crime and Justice Institute. The death of Legislative Bill 920, […]

Former nursing home

Behavioral health providers plead for funding that helps them help people

By: - April 6, 2022

LINCOLN — At Behavioral Health Specialists, an increase in demand for mental health care because of COVID-19 has grown into a waiting list of more than 100 people for one of the 58 inpatient treatment beds at the nonprofit’s sites in Norfolk and Columbus.  Meanwhile, the organization is competing for employees with local fast-food restaurants, […]

Sen. Wendy DeBoer

Attempt to add tax cuts for middle class fails as major tax relief bill advances

By: - April 5, 2022

LINCOLN — An effort to include additional tax cuts for middle-class Nebraskans failed Tuesday as a comprehensive tax relief bill moved to final-round consideration. Legislative Bill 873, which combines cuts in individual and corporate income taxes with additional property tax relief and a phasing out of taxes on Social Security benefits, advanced from second-round debate […]

Patty Pansing Brooks

Pansing Brooks picked by Democrats for special election to fill Fortenberry term

By: - April 5, 2022

LINCOLN — As expected, State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln was named Tuesday as the Democratic Party’s candidate for the special election to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. A special election will be held June 28 to fill out Fortenberry’s remaining term. He resigned March 31 after […]

CHI Health Center

Nebraska turnback tax grants decline in 2022 due to pandemic

By: - April 5, 2022

LINCOLN — The COVID-19 pandemic was not kind to the state’s Civic and Community Center Financing Fund, which awarded far fewer grants in 2022 than prior to the onset of the pandemic in 2019. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development announced Friday that it was awarding $1.2 million in grants this year from the fund, […]

Nebraska State Capitol Building

Ricketts wields veto pen, says Nebraska needs to save money for tax cuts

By: - April 4, 2022

LINCOLN — Citing a need to preserve state funds for tax cuts, Gov. Pete Ricketts wielded his veto pen Monday, reducing general fund expenditures by nearly $52 million. “My vetoes will ensure that Nebraska is poised to provide top-notch government services while keeping tax relief a possibility,” Ricketts said in a news release.  His cuts, […]

Buffalo County Sheriff's Office

Bonuses and streamlined transfers tried as ways to address shortage in law enforcement ranks

By: - April 4, 2022

LINCOLN — Buffalo County Sheriff Neil Miller can remember the days when applicants to become sheriff’s deputies filled two rooms. Today, he said he’ll be lucky to get six or seven applicants for the two openings he has in his agency of 35. “I’m getting one-tenth of the applicants that we used to get eight […]

Progressive group launches campaign to ‘unrig’ the economy, targeting U.S. Rep. Don Bacon

By: - April 2, 2022

A group called Unrig the Economy Nebraska launched Saturday to target votes taken by U.S. Rep. Don Bacon