Kan. Legislature opens special session

Kansas Capital
Kansas Capital

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators have opened their special session to address a proposed change to the state’s “Hard 50” prison sentence in response to a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The House and Senate leaders banged the gavel Tuesday shortly after 8 a.m. to read the resolution by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback formally calling the special session.

House members planned to consider the “Hard 50” measure by Tuesday evening. It would modify how defendants are sentenced to a mandatory 50 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

The U.S. Supreme Court said in a ruling in a Virginia case that juries must determine whether a mandatory minimum sentence is warranted in criminal cases. Current Kansas law lets judges make that determination but the proposed bill would give that task to juries.

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