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.

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 […]

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, […]