The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, "Rep's death penalty repeal effort stalled for now." It's by Andy Marso.
he House gave initial approval Monday to two bills regarding the death penalty — but neither was the one Rep. Steven Becker, R-Buhler, ultimately wants to see come up for a vote.
Becker introduced a bill in early March that would banish capital punishment from Kansas, replacing it with a sentence of life in prison without parole. With the session winding down, Becker said Monday his bill will be staying in the House Federal and State Committee until next year.
"I've been assured it will be given a hearing, but it will be next session," Becker said Monday. "I absolutely have not given up on that. I will be pushing that."
The death penalty has been abolished and reinstated in Kansas three times. No executions have occurred since the penalty was most recently reinstated in 1994.
Becker, a former judge, said he has always been opposed to capital punishment as part of his value system and his religious faith. But he said it was his professional experience that spurred him to take action.
"What triggered my doing something about it is my career in the criminal justice system and seeing how imperfect it is," Becker said. "I can not justify having death as part of an imperfect criminal justice system."
Becker's bill would only apply to crimes committed after June 30, 2013. In addition to ending the death penalty in Kansas, House Bill 2397 would also establish a victim's assistance fund from the savings in decreased judicial costs for capital cases.
The state agency that provides funds for defense attorneys fro Kansans who can not afford them estimates the bill would save $157,000 in staff reductions immediately and savings from fewer appeals could approach $100,000 per year.