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.

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

June 28 set for special election to fill remainder of Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s term

By: - April 1, 2022

LINCOLN — June 28 has been picked as the date of a special election to fill the vacancy left when U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry resigned after being convicted of lying to federal investigators. On that same day, Fortenberry, who had represented Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District since 2005, will be sentenced in a Los Angeles federal […]

Pinnacle Bank arena

Bill advances to double state ‘turnback’ payments for two Omaha and Ralston arenas

By: - March 31, 2022

LINCOLN — The state would double its financial commitment, from $75 million to $150 million, to Omaha’s CHI Health Center under a bill given first-round approval Thursday in the Nebraska Legislature. The so-called “turnback” tax proceeds would also double for Ralston’s Liberty First Credit Union Arena, to $100 million, under Legislative Bill 927. The bill […]

AltEn ethanol plant

Study of Nebraska’s AltEn health, environmental impacts gets $1 million boost

By: - March 31, 2022

LINCOLN — A last-minute amendment adopted Thursday will devote $1 million toward continuing research into the health, environmental and ecological impacts of contamination caused by the AltEn ethanol plant. A team of scientists, doctors and an engineer, volunteering their time and using donated funds for tests, has been studying the impacts of the pesticide-laced seed […]

Floor of the Nebraska Legislature

Third time is the charm for $900 million tax-cut plan in Nebraska Legislature

By: - March 30, 2022

LINCOLN — The third time was the charm Wednesday for a massive tax cut proposal in the Nebraska Legislature. After failing to advance the package twice last week, lawmakers mustered enough votes Wednesday evening to overcome a filibuster and then advance the tax cuts on a 44-0 vote. The comprehensive and much amended proposal includes […]

‘Racino’ bill advances with initial limit at six racetracks

By: - March 30, 2022

LINCOLN — A bill that seeks to limit, at least for now, the number of gambling casinos that can be established in Nebraska got out of the gate Tuesday but is far from the finish line. Senators advanced Legislative Bill 876 from first-round debate on a 30-0 vote, but one leading state senator complained that […]

Nebraska State Capitol Building

Major bills on corrections, taxes headed for debate Wednesday

By: - March 29, 2022

LINCOLN — After two days of acrimony over unsuccessful attempts at compromise, a legislative showdown is coming Wednesday on a major tax relief  bill and a comprehensive criminal justice reform proposal.  Both bills are scheduled for debate Wednesday. The fate of those two issues, and the Legislature’s proposal for spending its $1 billion federal American […]