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Government

Brownback Officially Calls Special Session

Governor Sam Brownback Tuesday signed a proclamation officially calling a special session of the Kansas Legislature in September.

Lawmakers will consider ways to fix the state's so-called hard 50 sentencing law. It allows judges to hand down a sentence of life in prison for murder, with no chance of parole for 50 years.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidated that sentencing option.

Governor Brownback said a solution is needed now, rather than waiting until lawmakers return for the next session in January.

“You’ve got a series of people who are being prosecuted right now that will slip through without having the option of a hard 50 if we don’t do this," Brownback said.

In Kansas, the basic sentence for first-degree murder is life with 25 years before becoming parole-eligible, but judges have been able to increase that to 50 years without parole. The Supreme Court ruling says juries, not judges, must weigh in when a sentence is enhanced in that way.