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Opinion: Trick in Kansas session is limiting focus

JOHN HANNA,AP Political Writer

With Kansas officials voicing strong support for quickly rewriting the state’s “Hard 50″ criminal sentencing law, the biggest issue facing the Legislature’s leaders during its coming special session could be keeping lawmakers’ focus from wandering.

Gov. Sam Brownback called the special session last week. It is scheduled to convene Sept. 3.

His action was in response a U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that raised questions about the law’s constitutionality. The statute allows judges to sentence convicted murderers to life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years.

Brownback and legislative leaders don’t believe the special session needs to last more than a few days.

But a governor can’t limit the scope of a special session. State laws may compel the Senate to consider Brownback appointments.

-JOHN HANNA,AP Political Writer

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