Speaking to Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis called for the abolition of the death penalty, saying he agreed with “all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.” Mary Sloan, executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, was heartened by the pope’s words, and hopes they can spur some action in the Legislature next year. “We applaud the pope for his strong support and hope that many will thoughtfully reflect on his comments and join us in calling for the state of Kansas to repeal the death penalty in 2016,” she wrote. Repealing the death penalty also was endorsed this summer by the board of the Kansas Federation of College Republicans. In 2010, a bill that would have replaced capital punishment with the crime of aggravated murder and a mandatory life sentence fell one vote short of passing the Kansas Senate. – Phillip Brownlee
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