The General Assembly wrapped up its session yesterday. For most of the day, lawmakers were focused on a stand-off between House Republicans and Senate Democrats. Only a last minute agreement averted a special session.
For most of their last day at the Capitol, lawmakers weren't sure it would be their last day. The House and Senate were divided over what’s called the rules review bill. It’s usually an uncontroversial piece of legislation that allows state agencies to implement their rules. Without it, everything from hunting licenses to state health insurance would be thrown into confusion. House Republicans amended the bill to revive a failed measure to help payday lenders. Senate Democrats objected and time was running out to pass the legislation. Hickenlooper threatened to keep lawmakers working through the end of the week if that had happened. Senate minority leader Mike Kopp urged his colleagues to avoid a special session.
KOPP: "I don't think that's a road that we want to go down. I believe this is an unnecessary game of chicken."
Legislative leaders spent the afternoon negotiating in the governor's office, trying to reach a deal. In the end, House Speaker Frank McNulty asked his members to back down.
MCNULTY: "This is not a time to be negotiating on an issue like this. This is a time to unwind what has been done and move on, for the benefit of Colorado."
While House Republicans were giving up on their payday lending amendment, in the Senate president Brandon Shaffer was apologizing for letting the time run out on a dozen Republican-backed bills. Shaffer wouldn't talk about that apology afterward, but making it was reportedly part of the deal that ended the standoff.
With the rule review bill passed, both chambers raced through their final work of the session, ending several hours before their midnight deadline.
MCNULTY: The 1st regular session of the 68th general assembly is declared adjourned. Sine Die."