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Top Morning News

Top Morning News 12.03.12


Chamber leaders to be picked at the Statehouse Monday; Budget projections will likely be recalculated after revenue numbers from November; Meat prices expected to rise next year.

KS Legislators To Pick Chambers' Leaders

Kansas Republican legislators are meeting at the Statehouse to choose the next Senate president and speaker of the House.

Monday's elections will be held by returning incumbents and those taking office for the first time in January.

Republicans will outnumber Democrats during the upcoming session 32 to 8 in the Senate and 92 to 33 in the House. Party primaries in August saw the conservative wing of the Republican Party oust several moderates, including Senate President Steve Morris. In the House, Speaker Mike O'Neal decided to retire after 28 years in the chamber, including two terms as speaker.

Democrats are expected to re-elect Anthony Hensley, of Topeka, as Senate minority leader and Paul Davis, of Lawrence, as House minority leader.

Budget Projections Likely To Be Recalculated After Unexpected Nov. Tax Revenues

The state Revenue Department says Kansas collected $2.6 million more in taxes than expected in November.


Ex-lawmaker Finalist For Kansas Court Of Appeals

A state commission has nominated a former conservative lawmaker now serving as a trial judge as one of three finalists for a seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals. But the statewide judicial nominating commission on Friday passed over Governor Sam Brownback's top attorney, Caleb Stegall, as a finalist. 

The commission named Sedgwick County District Judge Tony Powell as a finalist for a Court of Appeals vacancy created by the October death of Chief Judge Richard Greene. The other two finalists are prominent attorneys Dennis Depew, of Neodesha, and Stephen Kerwick, of Eastborough.

There were 25 applicants for the vacancy. Twenty of the candidates, including Stegall and Powell, also applied for an earlier vacancy on the 13-member court.

Kansas State Library Returning To Statehouse

After two years in temporary quarters, the State Library of Kansas is returning to its refurbished home in the Statehouse.

The library's 202,000-book collection has been housed in several remote sites since December 2010, when the north wing of the Statehouse closed for renovations. Some items in the collection are more than 200 years old.

A modular building was placed on the Statehouse grounds for the library staff and some items in the collection. The rest were stored elsewhere in Topeka. State librarian Jo Budler said Friday the return to the Statehouse began last week.

The move is expected to be finished by early to mid-December.

Analyst: Meat Prices May Rise Up To 8% In 2013

The continuing drought means consumers can expect to pay 5 to 8 percent more at the meat counter next year regardless of whether they buy beef, pork or chicken.

CattleFax executive vice president Randy Blach made that prediction Friday during the 100th convention of the Kansas Livestock Association held in Wichita. Roughly 70 percent of the nation's cattle herd has been affected by drought, with 40 percent impacted by a severe drought.

Blach estimates that the nation's herd is going to be reduced by one million cattle when the government releases its semi-annual cattle inventory next month.