Kan. Chief Justice Won't Speak To Legislature

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ House Speaker Ray Merrick has turned down a request from Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss to address the 2013 Legislature.

Traditionally, the chief justice appears during the legislative session to give lawmakers an update on the status of the state's court system.

The Kansas City Star reports (http://bit.ly/VmlcvS ) that Merrick thinks the time could be better used for other purposes.

Merrick, a conservative Republican from Stilwell, was chosen by his GOP colleagues to be the House speaker for the next two years.

The top House Democrat says Merrick's decision is a sign of growing animosity between the GOP and the courts.

Nuss wrote a letter to court employees informing them of Merrick's decision and saying that the annual report would be put in writing.