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Lawmakers’ Special Session Will Begin Monday

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Colorado State Capitol (credit: CBS)

Colorado State Capitol (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4)- The special session of the Colorado Legislature will start on Monday. Gov. John Hickenlooper announced more details about the session on Thursday.

The lawmakers will be taking up seven bills including civil unions.

Fifteen days are budgeted for the session but it’s unclear how long it will last.

Speaker of the House Frank McNulty may once again be inclined to keep civil unions off the House floor for debate. But it may be harder during the special session than during this week’s wrap of the 2012 regular session.

McNulty failed to bring the civil unions bill to the House floor Tuesday night, causing the measure to die along with 37 other bills.

Republicans may lose their one seat majority in the House because at least one Republican has planned a trip overseas and won’t be present.

If all the Democrats show up, they would have leverage with committee assignments.

Supporters are concerned that Republicans will stack committees to kill the civil union bill.

“Its important for folks to understand this is reset – we have reset on bill titles people get to set, introduce bills that perhaps were not introduced during the regular session as long as fit under the call, and as also a reset on where bills are assigned and what committtees look like,” said House Speaker Frank McNulty, a Republican.

“He knows the members in his caucus who support civil unions and if he stacks a committee of members that are all opposed to civil unions and then sends civil unions to that committee for a hearing, I don’t think that lives up to the idea of ‘This bill’s going to get a fair hearing,'” said Rep. Mark Ferrandino, a Democrat representing Denver who sponsored the civil union bill.

Other bills the governor has asked lawmakers to address include a bill funding 14 water conservation projects worth $55 million, legislation setting limits for driving under the influence of marijuana and a measure that would stabilize unemployment insurance rates.

McNulty said he won’t put civil unions to the front of the line because he insists it’s not an important kitchen table issue for Coloradans.

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