Analysis: Rhetoric clashing over Kansas ‘Hard 50′

Kansas Capital
Kansas Capital

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State officials insist the Kansas Legislature’s coming special session to fix the state’s “Hard 50″ law is crucial for heading off a major threat to public safety.

But when prosecutors go into court to ensure the tough sentence still applies in pending murder cases, they’ll argue that the changes in the law are no big deal.

The clashing rhetoric shows how symbolism is driving the crime-fighting debate with lawmakers set to convene Sept. 3.

The “Hard 50″ law allows convicted murderers to be sentenced to at least 50 years in prison, and a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision raised questions about its constitutionality.

State officials predict the courts will allow the state to apply changes in the law retroactively because the revisions will be merely procedural.

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