Assaulting a firefighter, paramedic or social worker would carry a stiffer penalty under a bill headed to a final vote in the Nebraska Legislature.
Lawmakers on Wednesday gave second-round approval to the legislation by state Sen. Steve Lathrop. The bill would impose the same potential penalties as the crime of assault on a police officer.
Lathrop says the bill seeks to protect professionals who are sometimes attacked by people they're trying to help. It would apply to firefighters, out-of-hospital care workers and employees of state corrections and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
The vote followed a filibuster led by Sen. Ernie Chambers, who argued the law shouldn't treat assault victims differently because of their profession.
In January, a woman was sentenced to 11 years in prison for shooting an EMT in an Omaha ambulance last July.