Editorial: Call special session for unfinished business

Call them back.

Colorado’s General Assembly let yet another legislative session pass without addressing critical issues facing the lives of every state resident. As BizWest went to press on Tuesday — with just one day left in the session — numerous bills had died an ignoble death:

• Colorado’s construction-defects laws have dramatically curtailed condominium construction, as builders fear lawsuits from home buyers. The Legislature has failed over several years to address the defects in the defects law, and the latest effort died last week in a House committee, although a proposal to study the issue was being considered. Fixing the state’s construction-defects laws — not studying the issue — would help boost condo construction, which in turn would help address housing affordability by increasing supply.

• House Bill 1420 would have created the Colorado Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise to replace what’s called the “Hospital Provider Fee,” removing hundreds of millions of dollars from consideration under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights cap on revenue and spending limits. Without such an adjustment, Colorado will be forced to refund enormous amounts of money — funds that could be used for K-12 education, higher education, roads and other uses. The measure passed the House, but it was defeated in the Senate Tuesday.

• The Fix Colorado Roads Act, a proposal to ask voters to approve $3.5 billion in bonds to pay for a variety of transportation projects around the state, was defeated Tuesday. The bill would designate funds for projects such as Interstate 25 in Northern Colorado, the I-70 corridor in the mountains and many others.

• Efforts to revive a presidential primary died Tuesday, despite the debacle of Colorado’s recent caucuses. Colorado deserves a presidential primary, not the pathetic display of the recent electoral season.

The Legislature did find time to regulate fantasy-sports leagues, even as it considered almost 700 bills that were introduced in the session.

While many issues were addressed, few are as important in Colorado as transportation, the budget mess, the presidential primary and the construction-defects law.

We encourage Gov. John Hickenlooper to call a special session of the Legislature to reach compromises on these issues, each of which is too important to leave unaddressed until 2017.

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