Final Vote, Harsh Penalty for Assault on Some Professionals - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

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

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

On Wednesday lawmakers gave second-round approval to the legislation by state Sen. Steve Lathrop. The bill would impose the same potential penalties that an offender would face if they assaulted a police officer.

Lathrop said the bill is aimed 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 in an attempt to delay or prevent the vote. He argued that the law shouldn't treat assault victims differently because of their profession.

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