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Kansas moved quickly to get 'Hard 50' fix into law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas officials took extraordinary steps to ensure that legislation fixing the state's "Hard 50" criminal sentencing law is now in effect.

Spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said Monday that Gov. Sam Brownback wanted the period of uncertainty surrounding the law to be as short as possible. The law allows convicted murderers to be sentenced to serve at least 50 years in prison.

Previously, judges decided on imposing the sentence. But a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June said juries had to do it -- and lawmakers passed the fix during a special session last week.

Brownback signed it Friday when the bill was delivered to his office.

The bill took effect upon its publication in the state's official weekly digest of legal notices. A special edition was published Friday.