TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House has approved changes to a state law that automatically imposes a 50-year sentence on some convicted murderers, a move sparked by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a similar law in Virginia.
Tuesday’s 122-0 vote came on the first day of a special session called by Gov. Sam Brownback to fix the state’s so-called Hard 50 law. The legislation — which puts the sentencing process in the hands of juries — now goes to the Senate, which is expected to approve it Wednesday
Kansas adopted the Hard 50 sentence in 1990, after the Legislature rejected the death penalty but sought to ensure long prison terms for certain murders.