Author

Zach Wendling

Zach Wendling

Zach rejoins the Nebraska Examiner after studying abroad in Antigua, Guatemala, following a yearlong Examiner internship. His coverage focus areas have included politics and government, health and well-being and higher education.

Nebraska Examiner is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.

Marcus Pennell holds a copy of Grand Island Northwest High School's June 2022 edition that focused on LGBTQ issues for Pride Month. Pennell is named as a plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging First Amendment violations after the paper was shutdown last summer.

Lawsuit alleges Nebraska high school shuttered school paper for covering LGBTQ issues

By: - March 31, 2023

LINCOLN — A federal lawsuit alleges Grand Island Northwest Public Schools and its superintendent violated the First Amendment after shutting down a school newspaper days after its staff covered LGBTQ+ topics. The ACLU of Nebraska filed the lawsuit in federal district court Friday on behalf of the Nebraska High School Press Association and a former student […]

Creation of Nebraska Broadband Office clears first round amid concerns

By: - March 31, 2023

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Legislature gave first-round approval Friday to a measure that would shift authority of up to $400 million in federal broadband funds to the executive branch. Legislators voted 43-2 to advance Legislative Bill 683, proposed by the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. The bill would create the Nebraska Broadband Office, led by a broadband […]

State Senators Terrell McKinney and Justin Wayne are shown speaking on the floor of the Legislature on two different days in a photo composite. The pair has criticized "zero-sum games" by some in the Legislature.

Nebraska lawmakers criticize ‘zero-sum games’ in Legislature, lack of support for North Omaha

By: - March 31, 2023

LINCOLN — Two Nebraska lawmakers this week criticized the actions of certain state senators for playing “zero-sum games” that could hurt North Omaha. State Sens. Terrell McKinney and Justin Wayne, who both represent North Omaha, said critical legislation might not be considered this session. This could include prohibiting hair discrimination in education or expanding support for […]

Nebraska lawmakers advance school safety package to full Legislature

By: - March 29, 2023

LINCOLN — A Nebraska legislative committee advanced a package Wednesday designed to improve school safety, coming just days after another school shooting, this time in Nashville, Tennessee. The Education Committee voted 7-0 to send Legislative Bill 516, proposed by State Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont, to the full Legislature. State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha was […]

LGBTQ advocates gather in the Rotunda of the Nebraska Capitol to speak out against legislation, including one bill prohibiting minors from attending drag shows. Individuals hold signs that spell out "Respect My Trans Homies."

Nebraska drag queens, advocates fight proposal to prohibit children from attending drag shows

By: and - March 24, 2023

LINCOLN — Drag queens and local LGBTQ advocates flooded a legislative hearing Friday talking about the joy of drag in the face of efforts to restrict minors from attending such performances. Legislative Bill 371, proposed by State Sen. Dave Murman of Glenvil, would prohibit minors, specifically those younger than 19, from attending drag shows. He […]

Opponents of LB 574 regarding gender-affirming care hold signs in the rotunda of the Nebraska State Capitol, including a sign that reads, "Keep hate out of health care."

Nebraska Legislature advances bill to restrict trans health care for minors

By: - March 23, 2023

LINCOLN — Supporters of a bill to restrict what gender-affirming care minors could receive in the state advanced Thursday by a vote of 30-17 in the Nebraska Legislature. Thursday topped off three days of debate that included passionate pleas, conflicting medical studies and a historic minority statement regarding Legislative Bill 574, the “Let Them Grow Act” […]

Supporters of trans Nebraskans hold individual signs spelling out "TRANS RESPECT" following debate on a bill to restrict gender-affirming care

Second day of debate on trans health care bill brings personal stories to forefront

By: - March 22, 2023

LINCOLN — The second day of debate over a bill that would restrict what gender-affirming care minors could receive in the state took a more personal turn for one parent in the Nebraska Legislature. Omaha State Sen. Megan Hunt described Wednesday how Legislative Bill 574 would impact her and her 12-year-old son, Ash Homan. The bill, […]

Nebraska Gov. Pillen urges awareness, advocacy for those with developmental disabilities

By: - March 21, 2023

LINCOLN — Gov. Jim Pillen joined the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and people with developmental disabilities on Tuesday to proclaim March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Pillen said it’s “really, really important” to keep alive the designation that President Ronald Reagan began in 1987, in order to help with advocacy and support for […]

Girl Scouts pose for a photo at a camp in the Apostle Islands. They are leading efforts for the governor to designate an official state tartan.

Nebraska Girl Scouts seek Gov. Pillen’s support in designating official state tartan

By: - March 21, 2023

LINCOLN — Four Girl Scouts in Senior Honor Troop 42146 are getting involved in Nebraska politics with one request: for Gov. Jim Pillen to designate an official state tartan. A tartan is a woolen cloth woven in a plaid pattern. Tartans are culturally important for Scottish and Irish families but are also worn worldwide. Originally in […]

Senators listen to trans rally. Machaela Cavanaugh and Jen Day in the center introduced a minority statement opposing LB 574.

Nebraska lawmakers file ‘minority statement’ ahead of debate on trans health care bill

By: - March 17, 2023

LINCOLN — Nebraska lawmakers on Friday filed a minority statement — a never-before-used tactic — to oppose legislation that would restrict what gender-affirming care minors could receive in the state. State Sens. Machaela Cavanaugh and Jen Day, both of Omaha, issued the statement ahead of debate on Legislative Bill 574 on Tuesday. Dubbed the “Let Them Grow Act,” […]

Megan Hunt addressed legislation to amend the Nebraska Constitution for abortion access. in this file photo, she testifies before a legislative committee.

Legislation would allow voters to decide abortion rights in Nebraska Constitution

By: - March 16, 2023

LINCOLN — One day after proposed abortion restrictions faced a hiccup in legislative support, a Nebraska lawmaker made the case Thursday for voters to determine whether abortion protections should be enshrined in the State Constitution. Legislative Resolution 18CA and LR 19CA, both proposed by State Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha, would put the question to […]

Nebraska students demand more gun reform five years after national school walkouts

By: - March 16, 2023

LINCOLN — Students at the Nebraska State Capitol on Thursday demanded action on gun safety and called on the Legislature to halt efforts on a “permitless” concealed carry bill. Various organizations, including Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, Huskers Against Gun Violence and Students Demand Action, connected Thursday’s news conference to National Walkout Day on March 14, […]