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Lawmakers Wrap Up Special Legislative Session

Colorado lawmakers have wrapped up a special session of the state legislature called by the Governor mostly to deal with a stalled civil unions bill.

That measure died on Monday, as did several other bills that had garnered bi-partisan support during the regular session that ended last Wednesday.

Nothing Really Special About Special Session

This week’s special session was the first since 2006 when lawmakers convened in Denver for a slate of illegal immigration bills. Most of the drama this year happened early and ended early when House Speaker Frank McNulty (R) sent a bill legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples to a committee where he knew it would be killed.

So it was a rather unceremonious scene when Senate president Brandon Schaeffer (D) banged the closing gavel.

“Thank you Mr. President I move that the first extraordinary session of the general assembly adjourn sine dine and I do mean it this time.  We are adjourned.”

In the end only three bills that Governor John Hickenlooper (D) asked lawmakers to consider passed. One dealt with water projects, another on unemployment insurance and the third on machinery regulation. 

Governor Disappointed With Outcome

Speaking on NPR’s Talk of the Nation on Wednesday, the Governor expressed disappointment about the impasse over the civil unions bill in particular.

“There’s one poll we saw last week that showed 75 percent of people in Colorado supported civil unions, and 56 percent of Republicans support civil unions. It’s a pretty nonpartisan thing, at least that’s what we thought,” Hickenlooper said.

Even before the final gavels went down, Republicans tried to lay blame on the Governor for calling what they said was an unnecessary special session for a divisive social issue.  Democratic leaders countered it still – quote – rescued some important economic bills that had stalled in the GOP House. There’s a one vote margin there between parties.

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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