State Senate passes anti-gang bill by a vote of 48-13

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ALBANY -

The state Senate passed legislation Monday that defines criminal gang activity in the state's penal law. The move aims to crack down on violent gangs such as MS-13.

The bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 48-13.

According to officials, the Gang Enforcement and Prevention Act would give officials more tools to investigate and prosecute gang violence and track gang activity.

The bill, which was co-sponsored by state Sen. Tom Croci, raises penalties for some crimes committed during gang activity, and for the first time creates a definition of what a gang is. The bill would make it a felony to recruit for a gang, including on school grounds.

The legislation also creates a fund to support violence prevention and gang crime deterrence services by not-for-profit organizations.

The bill comes after a wave of gang violence on Long Island, including the deaths of four young men who police believe were killed by MS-13 members in Central Islip.

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