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Kansas House taking up rewrite of 'Hard 50' law

Published on -9/3/2013, 7:04 AM

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas House members are preparing to debate a bill fixing the state's "Hard 50" criminal sentencing law as lawmakers return to the Statehouse for a special session.

The House Judiciary Committee planned to take the measure up Tuesday morning, shortly after the special session convened. A vote by the full chamber was expected by evening.

The 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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