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      Bill Heads to Final Vote, Harsh Penalty for Assault on Some Professionals

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      Assaultinga firefighter, paramedic, or social worker could carry a stiffer penalty undera bill headed to a final vote in the Nebraska Legislature.

      On Wednesday lawmakersgave second-round approval to the legislation by state Sen. Steve Lathrop. Thebill would impose the same potential penalties that an offender would face ifthey assaulted a police officer.

      Lathrop said thebill is aimed to protect professionals who are sometimes attacked by peoplethey're trying to help. It would apply to firefighters, out-of-hospital careworkers and employees of state corrections and the Nebraska Department ofHealth and Human Services.

      The votefollowed a filibuster led by Sen. Ernie Chambers in an attempt to delay orprevent the vote. He argued that the law shouldn't treat assault victimsdifferently because of their profession.

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