Kan. Senate advances death penalty appeals changes

FILE - In this June 18, 2010, file photo, the firing squad execution chamber at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, is shown. With lethal-injection drugs in short supply and new questions looming about their effectiveness, lawmakers in some death penalty states are considering bringing back relics of a more gruesome past, including firing squads. (AP Photo/Trent Nelson, Pool, File)
FILE - In this June 18, 2010, file photo, the firing squad execution chamber at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, is shown. With lethal-injection drugs in short supply and new questions looming about their effectiveness, lawmakers in some death penalty states are considering bringing back relics of a more gruesome past, including firing squads. (AP Photo/Trent Nelson, Pool, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas senators have advanced a bill shortening the time limits for inmates sentenced to death to complete their appeals to the state Supreme Court.

The measure received first-round approval Wednesday on a voice vote. A second vote that would send the bill to the House is set for Thursday.

Senate Vice President Jeff King says the bill is necessary to expedite justice and get the required automatic appeals through the Kansas Supreme Court.

The bill creates a 3½-year time limit for the appeals to be heard and decided by the court. The measure would not affect any subsequent appeals, including those made to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kansas enacted capital punishment in 1994 but has yet to carry out an execution. Nine men are under death sentences in state prisons.

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