Today’s news:

Padavan about-faces on hate crimes bill

After more than a decade of opposing hate crimes legislation, state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) reversed his position and joined other lawmakers who voted last week to pass the legislation, which strengthens the penalty for those convicted of committing a bias crime.

The bill, which passed the state Senate by a vote of 48-12, had been blocked for the past 11 years by the Republican majority and passed by the Democratic-led state Assembly. It lengthens the prison sentence of those who commit crimes based on race, religion, sex or age.

The bill now goes to the state Assembly and if it is passed by that chamber, it will go to Gov. George Pataki for his signature.

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