Editorial: One more appeal for a special session

Do it, governor.

BizWest on May 13 called for a special session of the Colorado Legislature to tackle a load of business left undone. Gov. John Hickenlooper since has been bombarded with requests — read, demands — from business groups to bring the legislators back. A recent online poll on BizWest.com found 62 percent of respondents in favor of a special session.

Hickenlooper is considering the requests, but we wish he’d hurry up.

Proponents of a special session — including numerous daily newspapers — might differ on what should rise to the top of the agenda, but here once again are our thoughts:

• Reform of the state’s construction-defects laws, which have stymied development of new housing, as builders fear lawsuits by home buyers. Such reform made a little headway this past session, but the need is urgent to help address the state’s affordable housing. Reforming the law can be done responsibly, and the state should get on with it.

• Creating a state enterprise to replace the Hospital Provider Fee, thus obviating the need for tax refunds under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Even this doesn’t fully address Colorado’s budget woes, but it’s a start. Opponents argue that this would threaten TABOR, when it in fact uses procedures put in place by TABOR.

• A measure to request voter approval for $3.5 billion in road improvements in Colorado, including the increasingly congested Interstate 25 corridor in Northern Colorado, I-70 in the mountains west of Denver and many other projects. Few who have sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic in these increasingly congested areas would argue against improvements. If a well-thought-out measure were to get before voters, we believe it would win handily.

• Revival of a presidential primary in Colorado should be a high priority. What better time to reach a compromise between Democrats and Republicans than when the debacle of the recent caucuses is fresh in everyone’s minds?

We admit that these four measures might be a lot to tackle in a single special session. But the various sides seemed extremely close on most of these issues. After the embarrassment of a session that accomplished very little, it wouldn’t hurt to put the legislators back to work.

All we need is for the governor to step forward and lead the way.


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