Crime and Courts
Wed September 4, 2013
Kansas House Passes Rewrite Of 'Hard 50' Law
Kansas House has unanimously passed a fix for the state's Hard 50 sentencing law.
The law allows judges to sentence certain convicted murderers to at least 50 years in prison before the possibility for parole.
The House's proposed revision would change the process so that juries also play a part in giving the sentences.
Republican representative Lance Kinzer of Olathe says the fix will help preserve the original intent of the bill:
"that those who commit the most heinous murders are...incarcerated for no less than 50 years prior...to parole."
A recent U.S. Supreme court case raised questions about the law's constitutionality.
During the debate, Representative Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat tried to attach an amendment to fix a problem with voter registration forms.
A new law requires people registering to vote for the first time in Kansas to provide citizenship documents.
Ward's amendment would have allowed them to instead sign a legal document saying they are a citizen.
But his amendment was rejected on the grounds that it wasn't connected to the original topic of the bill.
The Kansas Senate will take up the Hard 50 bill Wednesday.