TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Senate has approved a bill making a minimum of 50 years in prison the presumed sentence instead of an option for juries to consider for premeditated, first-degree murder.
The 35-3 vote Thursday sends the measure to the House.
The measure would be the second major revision of the “Hard 50″ law within a year.
Lawmakers had a special session in September to ensure that juries rather than judges weighed the evidence on whether the sentence should be imposed. The U.S. Supreme Court had said in a Virginia case that juries must decide.
Kansas law now says a defendant convicted of premeditated first-degree murder serves at least 25 years unless a jury recommends otherwise.
Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce said the 50-year sentence is more just.