Kansas Senate Panel Takes Up Tougher Crime Penalties

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas Senate committee is taking up proposed changes in the state's murder statutes. Top prosecutors are urging the committee to take a harder stance on certain murder sentences, including increasing the penalty for premeditated first-degree murder to a mandatory 50 years to life in prison.

The proposed changes heard Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee continued debates held in September when legislators met in special session to rewrite the state's ``Hard 50'' prison term.

Legislators are considering other changes, such as making the minimum 50 years to life in prison the presumptive sentence. Currently the sentence is 25 years to life and prosecutors must convince juries to impose a 50-year minimum.

The committee also heard testimony on changing the sentence for attempted capital murder to life without parole eligibility for 25 years, an increase from the current 12-year term.