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New Kansas state senators majority on budget panel

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- New members of the Kansas Senate will have a majority on the chamber's Ways and Means Committee and a key role in drafting budget legislation.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce of Hutchinson says new members expressed strong interest in budget issues.

Republican leaders appointed three GOP senators-elect new to the Legislature to the 11-member committee: Steve Fitzgerald of Leavenworth, Jeff Melcher of Leawood and Michael O'Donnell of Wichita.

Four House members who won Senate seats this year will also serve on Ways and Means: Tom Arpke of Salina, Jim Denning of Overland Park, Dan Kerschen of Garden Plain and Larry Powell of Garden City.

Andover Republican Ty Masterson will chair the committee. The Democratic members are long-time Sens. Laura Kelly of Topeka and Marci Francisco of Lawrence.