Republican Colyer sworn in as Kansas governor

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -

The Latest on Kansas swearing in a new governor (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

Republican Jeff Colyer has been sworn in as the new Kansas governor.

Colyer took the oath of office Wednesday in a Statehouse ceremony after former GOP Gov. Sam Brownback resigned.

Brownback stepped down to become U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Colyer was Brownback's lieutenant governor for seven years.

The 57-year-old Colyer was the state's longest-serving lieutenant governor.

He is facing a skeptical, Republican-controlled Legislature that is deeply divided over a court mandate to increase spending on public schools.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October that funding for public schools remains constitutionally inadequate. Brownback proposed phasing in a $513 million increase over five years and relying on growth in state revenues to pay for it.

11:40 a.m.

Kansas Democrats aren't waiting until incoming Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer takes office to launch a website criticizing him.

The state Democratic Party unveiled its website Wednesday ahead of Colyer's swearing-in. The site ties Colyer to the policies of departing GOP Gov. Sam Brownback and is www.BrownbackClone.com.

Colyer has served as Brownback's lieutenant governor for seven years. Brownback is stepping down as governor to become U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

Colyer will be sworn in as governor at 3 p.m. WATCH LIVE

Brownback's popularity waned after his 2014 re-election because of the persistent state budget problems that followed aggressive income tax cuts that Brownback championed in 2012 and 2013. Legislators rolled back most of the tax cuts last year.

Colyer was Brownback's running mate in 2010 and 2014. He is running for a full, four-year term as governor this year.

Brownback critics mock fasting proclamation with pizza party

9 a.m.

A top Republican in the Kansas Legislature is urging incoming GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer to push for a long-term settlement of ongoing lawsuits over funding for public schools.

State Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning said Wednesday ahead of Colyer's afternoon swearing-in that the new governor should either back a change in the state constitution or initiate settlement talks with school districts suing the state. Denning is influential among GOP conservatives.

Kansas has been in and out of school funding lawsuits for decades. Four local school districts sued the state in 2010.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October that the state's funding of more than $4 billion a year is inadequate under the state constitution.

Colyer is replacing GOP Gov. Sam Brownback, who is stepping down to take an ambassador's post.

11:38 p.m. Tuesday

Republican Jeff Colyer is preparing to take over as Kansas' next governor, facing a skeptical Legislature deeply divided over a court mandate to increase state spending on public schools.

Colyer is the state's longest-serving lieutenant governor and was scheduled to be sworn in as governor Wednesday afternoon.

He is replacing GOP Gov. Sam Brownback, who's stepping down to become U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

The biggest task facing Colyer and the GOP-controlled Legislature is responding to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in October that funding for public schools remains constitutionally inadequate.

Brownback proposed phasing in a $513 million increase over five years and relying only on growth in state revenues to pay for it. The plan angered many Republicans, who viewed it as fiscally reckless.
 

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