Topeka The Kansas House majority leader also will be the next vice chairman of the chamber's Appropriations Committee.
Majority Leader Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, will replace former Vice Chairman Jason Watkins, a Wichita Republican who resigned from the House earlier this month.
Merrick's appointment to the committee post was made by House Speaker Mike O'Neal. It takes effect when the Legislature opens the 2010 session on Jan. 11.
The Appropriations Committee plays a crucial role in shaping the state budget. Its chairman, vice chairman and ranking Democrat negotiate the final version of the budget with their Senate counterparts.