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Kansas House taking up rewrite of Hard 50 law

  • Associated Press
  • Published Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013, at 10:05 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013, at 5:45 a.m.

— Kansas House members have introduced the bill that would change the state’s Hard 50 criminal sentencing law.

The House Judiciary Committee met briefly Tuesday morning when lawmakers returned to the Statehouse for a special session. A full committee hearing was scheduled later in the morning. A vote by the full chamber is expected by evening.

The current law allows convicted murderers to be sentenced to at least 50 years in prison. A U.S. Supreme Court decision in June raised questions about its constitutionality.

The high court said juries must determine whether a mandatory minimum sentence is warranted in criminal cases. The Kansas law lets judges make that determination but the bill would give the task to juries.

The Senate hopes to consider the measure Wednesday. It has bipartisan support.

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