The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 30, 2010

<img src=" http://www.joplinglobeonline.com/images/zope/quickread.gif " border=0> Kan. committee endorses death penalty repeal

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Senate panel endorsed a bill Friday to repeal the Kansas death penalty, saying it’s a debate that legislators must conduct.

The 7-4 vote by the Judiciary Committee sends the bill to the full Senate The bill would eliminate the state’s 1994 death penalty law and would replace the crime of capital murder with aggravated murder, punishable by life in prison without parole.

However, it’s unclear if the House will even take up the matter. And if the Legislature were to pass the bill, it would go to Gov. Mark Parkinson, who helped write the death penalty law when he was a legislator.

Still, Judiciary Chairman Tim Owens said it was legislators’ duty to debate the death penalty and other serious issues and he wouldn’t vote to defeat the issue in committee.

“This truly is life and death that we are talking about, and I don’t think there is anything more serious that the Legislature can talk about,” said Owens, an Overland Park Republican.

Debate by the full Senate is expected in early February.

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