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     Kansas lawmakers will be considering major issues in the 2013 legislative session_ school finance and property tax reforms as well as lower taxes. John’s e-mail newsletters will help you keep up with developments on the issues that could affect you.

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John recorded a public service announcement in January for the Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association stressing the importance of reading to young children.

John in the House speaker's chair

It is an honor to be asked by the Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives to lead a House debate on several bills. That honor was accorded Wednesday Feb. 13 to Rep. Rubin. (Photo by Scott Schwab)

On a personal note:

(Aug. 8, 2013) As House Corrections Committee chairman and a board member of the Kansas Sentencing Commission, I just returned from a three day conference by the National Association of Sentencing Commissions, in Minneapolis, MN, on the subject of risk assessment in sentencing.
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Rubin sponsors Fair Tax bill in the House

TOPEKA | I am the main sponsor of a bill in the Kansas Legislature known as the Fair Tax Bill that would eliminate state income, sales and property  taxes and replace them with a consumption tax.

Here are the main points of HB 2625 in a nutshell and what it will accomplish:

1. It replaces the present 6.15% state sales tax with a 5.7% state consumption tax on (personally-consumed) new retail goods and personal services only.  No business purchases or business services are taxed.  No previously-owned items for sale are taxed.  Graduate and post-graduate education expenses are not taxed.  Real estate sales are not taxed.

2. It eliminates the state corporate income tax, reducing it to zero on day one, expanding the economy.

3. It eliminates the state personal income tax as well, reducing it all the way to zero over the next 3 years.

4. It eliminates 100% of the state’s share of our very unpopular property taxes.  Kansas counties and cities get to keep the resulting windfall of extra revenue as a pleasant local side benefit.

5. Kansas citizens and corporations no longer will file state income tax returns.

6. Tax credits through the HPIP and PEAK programs for a few hundred-or-so “qualified” (i.e. favored) corporations will be replaced by a 100% corporate tax credit for every company in Kansas by virtue of the state corporate income tax being eliminated.

7. Settling the matter of any accumulated tax credits, among other details of execution, will be under the auspices of a special Transition Committee as established in HB 2625.   

8. Kansans no longer will have state taxes withheld from their paychecks.

9. Kansas businesses will no longer be required to be unpaid state withholding tax collectors for the state.  They will be reimbursed at a rate of 0.25% of the taxes they send in to the Revenue Department.

10. The Kansas Revenue Department no longer will have to audit income tax returns and hunt down tax cheats, saving millions of dollars for the state treasury by reducing its costs of operation.

11. The Kansas Revenue Department will pre-pay monthly to every qualified and registered Kansas household a family consumption tax allowance (“prebate”), based upon the number of people in the household, in an amount equal to the tax on all their spending up to the official U.S. poverty level as published each year.  The “prebate” is not means-tested; every Kansan having a valid social security number receives it.  Non-citizens do not qualify and do not receive it.

12. The tax base is greatly broadened; after people use up their prebate, every buyer pays the tax, but only each time they buy new goods and services meant to be used personally.

13. The income tax assessment and compliance (tax preparation and legal) costs of the producer or provider, which are currently passed on in the price of all the goods and services, will be greatly reduced or eliminated due to the operation of free markets.

The retail selling price of these goods and services will be reduced because of the elimination of the state corporate and individual income tax. Thus, the end price of goods and services, including the base price plus the consumption tax, should equal about what the pre-tax cost is now.  This all means that consumers will no longer be paying any income tax themselves, resulting in a dramatic net reduction in their overall tax burden.

Upcoming article in "The Kansas Prosecutor"

Rep. John Rubin as written an article for the upcoming Spring 2014 edition of The Kansas Prosecutor summarizing legislation regarding criminal law, procedure, prosecution, public safety and the sentencing of criminal offenders.

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee and chairman of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, he has taken the lead in hearing, working and passing many of these bills both last year and this year. Rubin is also chairman of the interim Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight.

As chairman of the corrections panel, he took the lead on the Justice Reinvestment Act (2013 HB 2170 and 2014 HB 2495), enhancing community corrections for probation violators as an alternative to incarceration, to enhance public safety, rehabilitate low-risk offenders, reduce recidivism and thus relieve dangerous prison overcrowding.

He also was instrumental in Juvenile Justice Reform legislation enacted this year (2104 HB 2588 and 2014 HB 2633) aimed at modernizing our juvenile justice system in Kansas, in particular enacting presumptive dispositions other than incarceration for juvenile offenders convicted of misdemeanors and "status offenses" (offenses such as truancy, minors in possession, which are not crimes for adults), standardized evidence-based risk assessments for juveniles, and raising from 10 to 14 the minimum age at which juveniles can be tried as adults for crimes committed in Kansas.

To read his entire article, click on THIS LINK 

local control graphic

Lawmakers pass new school funding bill

TOPEKA | Following days of debate and compromise, the Kansas Legislature approved a new school finance bill that provides significantly more dollars to students in poor districts.

Passage came on the heels of a Kansas Supreme Court decision in early March that found an equity problem between tax rich and tax poor districts. The measure spends $126 million to bridge that gap.

But it also contained a benefit for Johnson County districts, which are considered rich based on the state’s funding formula. The bill allow for districts to increase funding from local property tax sources, a major goal of local superintendents.

Columnist Steve Rose says this is a big win for Johnson County schools. Read his editorial by clicking on THIS LINK.

Other provisions:

1. Corporations will be able to contribute money to a scholarship program allowing special needs and at-risk students to attend private schools.
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The economics of tax reform is explained at Kansas forum

   LAWRENCE | What is the economics behind Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax reform strategy?

A noted Kansas economist, Dr. Art Hall of the KU business school, explained the rational for the tax effort being made now in Topeka. He spoke April 2 at a forum on Kansas tax reform sponsored by the Douglas County Republican Party.

Hall explained that growth in the Kansas economy doesn’t come from companies moving to Kansas. Dynamic growth occurs, he said, from small businesses starting and expanding in Kansas.

The tax climate in the state, he said, must encourage that kind of growth.

To view his presentation, click on THIS VIDEO LINK. It runs for 15 minutes but is highly informative. Every Kansan should see it.

Law eliminates time limit on rape cases

   TOPEKA | Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill into law April 1 abolishing the statute of limitations on the prosecution of rape cases.

Rape and aggravated criminal sodomy could be prosecuted at any time after the attack occurs, according to the bill, HB 2252.
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Lawmakers pass tracking device bill

   TOPEKA | Law enforcement could obtain a search warrant for the covert installation, maintenance and use of a tracking device if there is probable cause that a crime is about to be committed.

Under current law, all search warrants must be supported by facts sufficient to show probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed. A final form of the legislation unanimously passed the both the House and Senate on Friday April 5 and was signed into law April 16.
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Second amendment protection act goes to governor

   TOPEKA | The Legislature approved a bill Friday April 5 that would exempt a “personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition owned or manufactured in Kansas” from federal regulation.

Rep. John Rubin, a Shawnee Republican is the bill’s chief sponsor.

A final version passed the House 96-24 and the Senate 35-4. The governor signed the bill into law April 16.
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Bill to ease prison overcrowding is signed into law

   TOPEKA | Kansas Lawmakers approved a bill April 1 affecting inmates released from prison under supervision that could reduce the number of prison beds by 863, which experts say will be needed next year.

Rep. John Rubin, a Shawnee Republican and chairman of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, said the measure is needed to avoid future overcrowding in the state’s prison system. He said it will also save the state money in the long run.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed the bill into law April 11.

The current available bed capacity (as of Jan. 14) was 9,564. The Kansas Sentencing Commission predicts that passage of HB 2170 will reduce the need for prison beds by 863 in fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1, and between 2,611 and 2,744 by FY 2023.
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governor signs autism bill into law

Rubin's autism bill signed into law

A compromise bill that provides health insurance coverage to Kansas children with autism was signed into law Wednesday April 16 by Gov. Sam Brownback.

The ceremony was held at KU's Edwards Campus in Overland Park.

I was the author of this important legislature and led the House debate on it.

I am very pleased and gratified that my fight for the past four years to get expanded insurance coverage for Kansas kids with autism has finally resulted in the passage of this measure.

But there is more work to do to extend this coverage to all 8,400 Kansas autistic children, and if I am honored by my constituents this year with re-election to serve another term as their state representative,  I will continue this fight next session in Topeka.

I have championed this cause since I have been in the Legislature.

I co-sponsored and carried similar legislation in 2012, and took the lead in 2013 and this year to draft this legislation, serve as lead co-sponsor, and work with the Kansas health insurers on a compromise acceptable to all parties to get this passed this year, so that 250 additional Kansas kids with autism will be covered as of 2015, and 750 in 2016.

Coverage will be subject to the following limitations: 1,300 hours per calendar year beginning with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) diagnosis and no later than age five for any covered individual for the first four years following diagnosis. And then, 520 hours per calendar year for covered individuals less than 12 years of age.

It was politically impossible to cover every child with autism because the federal Affordable Care Act requires the state to pay for any new mandate added to health plans sold under the law. There are an estimated 8,400 children in Kansas suffering from autism.

The bill didn't cover as many children as I wanted but support from the insurance industry was necessary for the bill to pass. Without it, the measure would die.

   The bill, HB 2744, was the product of lengthy negotiations by myself and the state's health insurance industry. The bill had the support of House Speaker Ray Merrick.

Click on THIS LINK to read an editorial published recently in The Kansas City Star on my efforts regarding this issue. I'm also extensively quoted in a story by the Kansas Health Institute. Click on THIS LINK to read it.

An article on this subject recently was published by The Star. To read it, click on THIS LINK.

Here’s my testimony on this issue:

Chairman Schwab and members of the House Judiciary Committee

I want to thank you for this opportunity to testify in full support of HB 2744, a consensus bill regarding expanded basic health insurance coverage for Kansas children with autism spectrum disorder that I am pleased to report has been agreed to between myself and other 2014 autism insurance legislative co-sponsors and the Kansas health insurance industry.
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Lawmaker backs making search, arrest warrants public

TOPEKA | Public release of probable cause affidavits supporting search and arrest warrants in Kansas is being championed by Rep. John Rubin of Shawnee.

The issue gained prominence in Johnson County when a Leawood family was subject to a SWAT style raid on their home by Johnson County sheriff deputies, who held the family at gun point.

The deputies suspected the couple was growing drugs in the basement. What turned up was a tomato garden and not drugs.

The deputies left with no explanation for why their house had been targeted and raided, and the couple learned that the probable cause affidavit setting out the reasons for the raid was not available to them. Members of the family were never charged with a crime.

HB 2555, approved the Kansas House 113-10, would change the law to open these affidavits to the public unless the prosecutor successfully petitions the judge to seal the affidavits. Thus, the government would have the burden of proof to keep the affidavits secret rather than the public having the burden of proof to make the affidavits open.
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Read John's written testimony on this issue by clicking on THIS LINK

Articles on this issue have been printed in The Kansas City Star and The Wichita Eagle.


Kansas is Growing

Here are just some highlights showing growth in our economy:

For the third consecutive month, the Kansas unemployment rate was below 5 percent. This is the first time since 2008 the state has enjoyed three months in a row with an unemployment rate that low.

Building permits in Kansas have increased 22.5 percent from December 2012 to December 2013. Building equals buying.

Kansas has had back-to-back years of creating more than 10,000 jobs. This continues the job growth trend with 45,000 jobs created from January 2011 to December 2013.

Record new business formation for 2013, with 15,469 new domestic entity filings in the state.

Revenue chart

Revenue Receipts Growing

The Kansas Department of Revenue has released its March figures:

Corporate income tax receipts were $17.8 million, or 59 percent more than expected

Sales tax receipts were $7.3 million more than estimates.

Tax revenue receipts for fiscal year to date are $130.7 million more than estimates, or 3.4 percent.

Investment in education continues, with more than 600 new teachers in Kansas classrooms since I took office.

We are building momentum in 2014 as income taxes on all working Kansas have once again decreased. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Kansas House of Representatives voted 120 to 0 to uphold the tax cuts.


Rubin’s Rules seek more transparency

I have always been and remain an ardent advocate of full transparency and accountability to the voters who have elected us to serve in the Legislature and to all the citizens of Kansas.

I believe our oath of office demands no less. In my view, effective and responsible governance demands that we always cast informed votes, and that we always disclose to our constituents and all Kansans how we vote on the public policies that so profoundly affect their lives.

In my mind, our longstanding legislative practices of bundling multiple bills in a single conference committee report for one vote under the Joint Rules, and of not recording our votes on bills, resolutions and amendments in the Committee of the Whole on General Orders under the House Rules, directly contravene our obligation to the people of Kansas to be fully informed on the matters on which we vote, and to be transparent in and accountable for our votes, factors critical to effective governance.

Accordingly, I have drafted and pre-filed two resolutions to be introduced and considered in the upcoming 2014 legislative session (which begins Jan. 13): HCR 5020, amending the Joint Rules, and HR 6037, amending the House Rules, respectively, to correct these undemocratic legislative practices. I have received substantial support among my fellow legislators, and secured a number of co-sponsors, for both.

The first initiative, HCR 5020, is a Concurrent Resolution amending the Joint Rules to provide that a conference committee report (CCR) may contain only the bill being conferenced and all or part of one other bill that has passed either Chamber during the current biennium. Current practice allows for an unlimited number of additional bills or parts of bills that have been passed by either Chamber to be added to the bill being conferenced, and we members have one vote on the entire CCR package on the floor.

It is not unusual for as many as four, six, eight or more bills to be added to a conferenced bill in a CCR.  Unless a member serves on the committee from which the bills have emanated – and perhaps not even then – the member has little if any opportunity to fully inform himself or herself of the contents, consequences or effects of the additional bills, particularly if the added bills did not originate in and were not debated in our Chamber, and particularly under the pressing time constraints we experience late in session, when most of these CCRs are considered.
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Rubin wins “Legislative Champion” award from MADD

TOPEKA | Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recently announced its “2013 Legislative Champions” and recognized Rep. John Rubin of Shawnee and Sen. Jeff King of Independence for their leadership within the Kansas Legislature to stop drunk driving.

“MADD thanks Senator King and Representative Rubin for their tireless work and commitment to improving the drunk driving law in Kansas. MADD is grateful for their efforts in seeking justice for victims in Kansas,” said MADD Kansas Advisory Board Chair Chris Mann.

In 2013, Sen. Jeff King and Rep. John Rubin were crucial in passing HB 2218, which among other provisions, amended the crime of aggravated battery to include serious DUI crashes. “This law will allow prosecutors to seek justice in cases where a drunk driver causes serious injury to a crash victim,” said Mann, who is also a victim of a drunk-driver.
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KanCare produces dividends for disabled Kansans

   TOPEKA | More than 650 Kansans with disabilities are able to receive new access to Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) because of the KanCare program.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D., and Secretary of Health and Environment Robert Moser, M.D., announced that savings from care coordination under the new KanCare Medicaid program will bring in-home services to hundreds of additional people with physical and intellectual/developmental disabilities.
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Lawmakers expand conceal-carry law

TOPEKA | The Kansas Legislature approved a bill Friday April 5, 2013, that supporters say will increase citizen safety when gun violence threatens.

It passed the House 104-16 and the Senate 32-7 and was signed into law by the governor April 17.

Senate substitute for HB 2052, would clarify the statute that prohibits firing a firearm within city limits. It provides several exemptions, including the firing of a weapon in defense of a person or property.

The bill allows people with permits to carry their weapons into a government building, including state and city properties, if they lacked adequate security measures such as electronic detection, guards at entrances to check for guns or other weapons.
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More tax dollars don’t equal better schools
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Bill wants more unspent dollars spent in classroom
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If you have a question or comment about an issue before the Kansas Legislature, you can go to the Contact Page and fill out the REMARKS section of the form there or click on John's E-MAIL link.   

Donate to the campaign

In order to serve in the Kansas Legislature, Rep. Rubin must stand for election every two years and that takes financial contributions from his supporters.

You can donate by sending him a check at the address below or use your PayPal or Piryx account. Just click on the Donate logos below.

John's mailing address:
13803 West 53rd Street
Shawnee, Kansas 66216
Phone: 913-558-4967

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Contributions are limited to $500 per person per cycle (primary is one cycle, general election is another). They cannot be made by lobbyists or businesses during the current legislative session under state law.

* If contributions are in excess of $150, state law dictates we need to know your occupation. Please e-mail John with that information or fill out the form below.

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Capitol Contact information:

Rep. John Rubin
Kansas Capitol, Room 151B South
300 SW Tenth Avenue
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1504

Capitol Phone: 785-296-7690
E-mail: John.Rubin@house.ks.gov

Under the Dome logo

Letter on a New Autism Bill

Nov. 21, 2013
Dear House Colleagues,

As most of you know, I remain a steadfast advocate of legislation requiring that all Kansas health insurers include as part of basic health insurance (no riders/no additional cost) coverage for proven clinical treatment therapies, including in particular Applied Behavior Analysis (“ABA”) intervention at an early age, for Kansas children with duly diagnosed autism spectrum disorders.

Following the leadership of former Rep. Arlen Siegfried on this issue, I co-sponsored and carried such legislation in the House during the 2012 session (the bill passed the House but was not taken up in the Senate).

Such legislation was reintroduced in the 2013 session as HB 2317, but never made it out of committee.  I plan to pre-file the attached bill, 14rs2583 – which mirrors 2013 HB 2317 with updated effective dates -- for introduction in the 2014 session. It is the right thing to do for Kansas kids with autism and their families. It is also the fiscally responsible thing to do for the State's bottom line.
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An Independence Day Message

Dear friends,

Hello and Happy Independence Day to you all.

I'm getting geared up right now to hit the ground running in the Kansas Legislature next session in our continuing fight for conservative principles and values in Kansas, including, among other things:

(1) Replacing the disproportionate, unfair, and economically stagnating income tax in Kansas with the Fair Tax, to promote fundamental fairness in our tax structure, and to stimulate the economy, expand the tax base, and grow jobs;

(2) Enacting further abortion restrictions, to continue our quest to protect the lives of our unborn children and preserve the health of their mothers by making Kansas the most abortion-unfriendly state in the nation;
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A Case for Kansas Gun Rights

Rep. Rubin’s testimony Feb. 19 on HB 2199 before the House Federal and State Affairs Committee

Chairman (Arlen) Siegfreid and committee members, I appreciate this opportunity to testify today as the lead sponsor and proponent of HB 2199. I am proud that 49 House colleagues have joined me in sponsoring this vitally important legislation, which proclaims loudly and clearly that not only the Second Amendment but the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution are alive and well in Kansas, and which for the first time puts real teeth into protecting the precious individual right of every Kansan to keep and bear arms under the United States and Kansas Constitutions.

 This proposed legislation begins by citing the constitutional rights guaranteed to every Kansan to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment and, under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, to retain all powers and rights not specifically granted to the federal government – guarantees that were understood as a precondition to and a matter of contract between the state of Kansas and the federal government at the time Kansas entered the compact to join the Union in 1859.
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Issues facing the 2013 Legislature

     In a recent questionnaire from The Kansas City Star, John Rubin received the following question:

The Star: What do you think are the most pertinent issues facing the Legislature right now? How would you address those issues?

Answer: This election was all about returning our state and nation to economic growth and prosperity and creating thousands of new jobs for Kansans by reducing the heavy tax and regulatory burden, and resultant uncertainty, on this nation's job creators, especially the small businesses that provide over 80% of the jobs in our state. This will greatly expand the tax base and actually grow state revenues.
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Health Insurance and ObamaCare

 In the 2012 session, I had the privilege of co-sponsoring, carrying, and helping to lead the fight on the House Floor on behalf of House Concurrent Resolution 5007, the Health Care Freedom Amendment, and Senate Bill 14, the Health Care Freedom Act.

HRC 5007 sought to place on the ballot for voter approval an amendment to the Kansas Constitution to preserve the right and freedom of Kansans to provide for their own health care. It passed the House overwhelmingly, but unfortunately did not get out of the Senate. This prevented you, the citizens of Kansas, from having your say on this important issue at the polls.
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Governor upbeat on the Kansas economy

TOPEKA | A look back at the Kansas economy: 2013.

The unemployment rate has dropped to 5.1 percent in November, a decrease of half a percentage point from October.

A total of 45,600 new jobs have been created from January, 2011, through October, 2013, including 20,000 just this year.

“For Kansas and Kansans, 2013 has been a good year,” said Gov. Sam Brownback.  “We are moving in the right direction to ensure Kansas is the best place in the U.S. to live, work and raise a family.”

“Individuals and businesses are feeling confident about the Kansas economy as across-the-board tax relief leaves them with more of their money in their pockets. A reflection of that success is in the record revenue of more than $6.3 million we have seen this year.

“Our record job and revenue growth, declining unemployment and sound fiscal management ensure that we have the resources to make the strategic investments in education and public safety that benefit all Kansans,” he said.

Kansas was one of 13 states with an economic growth rate of between 0.6 and 1 percent for the third quarter of this year, according to the data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (Link to article)

“Kansas is leading the way,” Brownback said.

Rubin wins Pro-Jobs title from Kansas Chamber

   TOPEKA | Based on his voting record on the economy, Rep. John Rubin of Shawnee has been named a 2013 Pro-Jobs Legislator by the Kansas Chamber.

Mike O’Neal, a former Kansas House speaker and currently the chamber’s president and CEO, praised all the legislators who made the list.

“This session the Legislature tackled many tough issues and tremendous progress was made in many areas that have made Kansas one of the most economically competitive states in the region,” said O’Neal said, adding that the Pro-Jobs Legislators list identifies lawmakers who voted at least 80 percent of the time to support a wide range of business issues.
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Ignition lock requirements

TOPEKA | Rep. John Rubin led the debate Thursday March 13 on a bill to remove the sunset on a requirement that a drivers have breath alcohol ignition interlock devices installed on their cars for a suspended license or failing an alcohol or drug-related test.

Currently, the provisions are scheduled to sunset on June 30, 2015. House Bill 2479 would remove this sunset provision and keep the requirements in place.  It was approved by the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, which Rubin leads.

The House approved the bill the next day by a vote of 117-0. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Special session ends after “Hard 50” law is fixed

TOPEKA | A bill fixing problems with the Kansas “Hard 50” sentencing law passed both chambers of the Legislature this week, ending the two day special session that began Sept. 3.

The measure was originally contained in a preliminary report by the Special Committee on the Judiciary and will change the way the sentence is imposed.

The Kansas House approved the measure Tuesday by a vote of 122 to 0 and the Senate followed suit Wednesday Sept. 4 in a 40-0 vote.

A judge can hand down a Hard 50 sentence under current law. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that method unconstitutional in June and stated that the sentence of 50 years without parole must be determined by a jury.
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