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.

Traffic along Interstate 80

Bill advanced to allow ‘progressive design-build’ of highways, bridges

By: - March 29, 2022

LINCOLN — The state would have a new tool to help complete the long-delayed state expressway system, and other highway and bridge projects, under a bill that appears headed for approval in the Nebraska Legislature. With little debate Monday, lawmakers gave 31-0 first-round approval for Legislative Bill 1016, which would allow the Nebraska Department of […]

State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh

Nebraska lawmakers pledge work to improve handling of workplace harassment complaints

By: - March 28, 2022

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Legislature appears headed for a review of how it handles workplace harassment complaints by employees and how it handles senators who breach ethical standards. State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha said Monday that a recent complaint filed against then-Sen. Mike Groene pointed up the “inadequacies” in the current complaint process. She […]

Nebraska State Capitol Building

State’s $1 billion ARPA budget moves forward but faces uncertain future

By: - March 28, 2022

LINCOLN — A group of state lawmakers worked into the night Monday in hopes of crafting a grand compromise among three major issues in the 2022 session. Amid that work, legislators gave second-round approval to the bill outlining proposed spending of the state’s $1 billion allocation from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). But […]

Floor of the Nebraska Legislature

School officials say ‘furries’ talk is ridiculous after Nebraska lawmaker raises the issue

By: - March 28, 2022

LINCOLN — Officials with the Seward and Adams Central school districts on Monday labeled as “ridiculous” and “an ugly rumor” talk that students have dressed up as cats and dogs and have requested litter boxes to handle their bathroom needs. Officials with both the Millard and Omaha public schools also said they were unaware of […]

U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry talks reporters after his trial.

Fortenberry resignation sets up unique situation with special election

By: - March 27, 2022

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s voters, and election officials, are about to enter new territory. Because of the impending resignation of U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, voters in eastern Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District will be asked to vote  in three elections in 2022 concerning the post Fortenberry is vacating. The three are the May primary, a special election […]

Sen. Carol Blood

Carol Blood picks former State Sen. Al Davis as her running mate in Nebraska governor race

By: - March 27, 2022

LINCOLN— Former State Sen. Al Davis, a Sandhills rancher with a second home in Lincoln, was picked Sunday by Democratic gubernatorial candidate State Sen. Carol Blood as her running mate. Blood, of Bellevue, said she was seeking a lieutenant governor who would be “servant-hearted, hard working,” who had past political experience and who had “the […]

Fortenberry guilty

Fortenberry resigns two days after jury finds him guilty of lying to federal investigators

By: - March 26, 2022

LINCOLN — U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry on Saturday announced his resignation, stating that due to his conviction on three federal felonies, “I can no longer serve you effectively.” “I will resign from Congress shortly,” he said, in a three-paragraph statement. In a letter to his congressional colleagues, in which he quotes from a poem posted […]

Sen. Joni Albrecht

Nebraska Legislature to explore expanded abortion ban

By: and - March 25, 2022

LINCOLN – A rarely employed “pull motion” in the Nebraska Legislature on Friday revived an impassioned debate on abortion. Lawmakers Friday voted 28-13 to bring Legislative Bill 933 to a full floor discussion after the bill had failed to advance from the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. Introduced by State Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston, LB 933 […]


Attempt to create super-sized tax break bill falls one vote short in Nebraska Legislature

By: - March 25, 2022

LINCOLN — An attempt to add a major package of income and property tax cuts to a bill providing a tax break on Social Security checks ran into a logjam Friday in the Nebraska Legislature. In the end, the attempt to create a super-sized collection of tax relief proposals failed, with a vote to stop […]

Fortenberry guilty

Ricketts, House GOP leader, Speaker call on Fortenberry to resign

By: and - March 25, 2022

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Pete Ricketts, the Republican leader in the U.S. House and the House Speaker called Friday for U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry to resign, following his conviction for lying to federal investigators and trying to conceal illegal campaign donations. “I hope Jeff Fortenberry will do the right thing and resign so his constituents […]

Fortenberry guilty

U.S. Rep. Fortenberry found guilty of three felonies in stunning and swift jury verdict

By: - March 24, 2022

LOS ANGELES — With stunning swiftness, a California jury found U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry guilty Thursday of lying to federal investigators and trying to conceal illegal campaign donations. The jury of eight women and four men took just over two hours to render a verdict on three felony charges faced by the 61-year-old Republican.  The […]


Federal jury finds U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry guilty on all three counts

By: - March 24, 2022

Editor’s note: This report was updated at 9 p.m. CDT Thursday with a verdict. LOS ANGELES — In stunning swiftness, a California jury ruled Thursday that U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry was guilty of lying to federal investigators and trying to conceal illegal campaign donations. The jury of eight women and four men took just over […]