Hickenlooper not ready to decide whether or not to call special session

Will Gov. John Hickenlooper convene a special session? He’s not ready to decide, the governor told reporters Monday in Colorado Springs, where he signed a bill that would make it easier for juveniles with certain low-level offenses to expunge their records.

“The bottom line is there’s a bunch of session that we’re not going to agree on,” he said. “We have our values — inclinations, I’d say — but we do agree on an awful lot.”

Hickenlooper told reporters on Thursday that he’d take the weekend to consider whether or not to call back legislators in an effort to accomplish more on issues like transportation, funding the state energy office, health care policy and rural broadband internet — the legislative outcomes of which he was disappointed in.

“With a special session you have a little more time, and maybe bills can be assigned to a place where they can get a fair hearing, a public hearing,” the governor said last week.

“Then the media, therefore the entire state, can see exactly who’s saying what.”

On Monday Senate Democratic Leader Lucia Guzman said she hadn’t heard from the governor on the topic.

“I would find it hard to believe that we can make some major turns in the road on those issues that we were not able to do in the session,” she said. “I just don’t see it.”

The last time a special session was convened was in 2012, when Hickenlooper called legislators back to the Capitol to reconsider a civil unions measure for same-sex couples, among other proposals. Many of those proposals, including the civil-union bill, failed.

Governors usually do not call special sessions “unless things are pretty well worked out with legislative leaders,” said Robert Loevy, a political scientist at Colorado College and co-author of “Colorado Politics and Policy: Governing a Purple State.”

Thus, special sessions are rare — and short if they do occur. They’re “almost always less than a week,” said Loevy, adding that it was difficult to generalize about them due to their rarity.

Loevy thinks it’s unlikely there will be a special session because of the difficult assignment that faces any governor wishing to call one: Gain support of legislative leaders and feel confident that your proposal has a chance of passing both the House and the Senate.

“That’s a tall order,” Loevy said. “I’m not ruling it out … but odds are, given those difficulties, there won’t be a special session.”

Colorado Politics reporter Peter Marcus, Gazette reporter Chhun Sun and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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