Nebraska's mountain lion hunting season could come to a halt if a bill passed by state senators becomes law.
The Legislature's 28-13 vote on Monday was enough to pass the measure, but supporters fell five votes short of the backing needed to put it into effect right away.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha says he introduced the bill because the state has a duty to protect mountain lions, which are native to Nebraska, but were virtually wiped out by settlers. Foes say the Nebraska Game and Parks Commissions should have the leeway to manage the population.
The state approved mountain-lion hunting in 2012, while Chambers was briefly out of office because of term limits.
The bill now heads to Gov. Dave Heineman.