A special legislative committee will convene at the Statehouse Monday to start work on a fix for the so-called Hard 50 sentencing law, which allows judges to give harsher sentences to convicted murderers in certain cases. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling raised questions about the law.
Under certain circumstances, judges can sentence convicted murderers to life in prison, without the possibility of parole for 50 years. But the Supreme Court recently said juries — not judges — must weigh in when it comes to increased sentences like that.
The chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court and a prominent legislator are butting heads. At issue are allegations made the the justice. He says the legislator, who's an attorney, tried to make a deal tying a pay raise for court workers to a constitutional amendment.
A bill that would require drug testing for some welfare and unemployment benefit recipients passed the Kansas Senate Thursday. It would require drug tests for some people enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, if they are suspected of drug use.
Senator Jeff King, an Independence Republican, says the goal of the bill is to help Kansans who have drug problems.
Democratic Senator Anthony Hensley tried to add a provision that would also administer drug tests to business owners who receive economic development funds from the state.