Rep. Ray Merrick, (R) House Speaker-elect
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The new speaker of the Kansas House has appointed 11 new committee leaders. But he's keeping the chairmen of panels weighing how to close the budget shortfall, revise tax laws and change how appellate court judges are selected.
Incoming Speaker Ray Merrick said Wednesday that his selections were dictated by his need for a strong leadership team.
The list of appointments includes 11 new chairmen and chairwomen for 20 standing committees. They reflect changes required because previous leaders didn't seek re-election to the House or lost their seats this year.
But Merrick is keeping the chairmen of the powerful Appropriations, Taxation and Judiciary committees.
He and the new committee leaders take over their jobs when legislators open their 2013 session in mid-January.