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Guv signs Meng bill giving counseling to hate offenders

Judges who convict any New Yorker of a hate crime will have the ability to order the offender to undergo an educational program as a result of a bill signed into law last week by Gov. David Paterson.

The bill, co-sponsored by state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and state Sen. Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan), will allow judges to require, as part of sentencing that anyone convicted of a hate crime complete a program, training session or counseling session.

Such a program or session would be aimed at teaching offenders about the importance and impact of crimes motivated by hatred of a person or group’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.

“This law will not only ensure that our state provides the necessary education and counseling to deter hate crimes, but will also make it very clear to the perpetrators that New York state does not and will not tolerate threats and violence that are motivated by any kind of bias,” Meng said.

The law, which goes into effect Nov. 1, passed the Assembly unanimously and was signed by Paterson last Thursday. It was introduced in recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in April as a result of vicious hate crimes, including this year’s bias attacks against five elderly Asian Americans in Manhattan and a Mexican man on Staten Island, and last year’s vicious beating of gay College Point resident Jack Price.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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