Nebraska lawmakers advance mainline budget bill

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lawmakers have given first-round approval to a bill that makes up most of Nebraska's state budget.  The bill was advanced on Thursday with a 36-0 vote. It followed nearly 16 hours of debate. The proposal is the largest of five bills that are part of the state's overall spending plan. It includes funding to keep state agencies, programs and the University of Nebraska in operation. Much of Thursday's debate focused on funding for small, specific budget items, including a home-visitation program for nurses and a railroad inspector job that hasn't been filled in years. Lawmakers also rejected an attempt to increase funding for a property-tax relief program. Lawmakers are required to approve a two-year budget before they adjourn for the year.