LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A bill designed to give nurses and doctors special protections from assaults with bodily fluids has advanced in the Nebraska Legislature.

Senators gave the measure first-round approval Wednesday with a 33-0 vote. Sen. Mike McDonnell of Omaha says the measure would add health care professionals to a protected class that includes police and firefighters. Attacking a public safety officer with a bodily fluid is already a stand-alone crime.

McDonnell says nurses and doctors deserve the same protection as first responders because they often work alongside them and provide a valuable community service.

Opponents say the measure classifies residents differently and opens the door to other special protections for specific groups.

The measure advanced to the second round of three votes.