A bill to end Nebraska's mountain lion hunting season has cleared a first-round vote in the Legislature.
Lawmakers advanced the measure Friday on a 31-5 vote.
Sen. Ernie Chambers says he introduced the bill because the animals were native to the region, and they pose no real threat to humans. He says hunters only want to kill them for sport.
Opponents say the mountain lion population should be regulated by experts at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
The bill includes exceptions that allow farmers and ranchers to kill mountain lions that threaten their property. People could also kill the animals to defend themselves if attacked.
Two more votes are required before the bill goes to Gov. Dave Heineman.