By Dan Kane
RALEIGH, N.C. — With a coalition of mayors and police chiefs urging action on gangs, the state Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved two bills to provide tougher penalties for gang activity and money for prevention and intervention programs.
The two votes, both 47-0, moved North Carolina closer to joining a majority of states that have laws dealing specifically with gangs. But despite all the hoopla Wednesday, some major issues remain before anti-gang initiatives become law. The Senate legislation makes no mention of how much will be spent on prevention programs, and the Senate has stripped out provisions that would give young offenders a break in sentencing or an erasure of their gang history if they are rehabilitated.
N.C. police chiefs support anti-gang bill