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Gov. Polis planning to call special session

By Alex Burness

The Denver Post

Colorado state lawmakers are preparing for Gov. Jared Polis to call a special session focused on COVID-19 relief.

Top Democratic officials in both chambers of the statehouse say they and the Democratic governor’s office have been in talks for weeks on a possible special session, and that the failure of Congress to pass a new federal stimulus package has added urgency to those talks of late.

Polis is expected to announce the move as early as Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, said a special session is “likely” at this point, “given the (COVID-19) surge and the impact it’s having not just on families, but small businesses.”

The governor’s office, asked about the possibility of a special session, released this statement from Polis and Democratic


legislative leaders: “Legislative leaders and the Governor’s office have been having productive conversations on how we can step up to help provide additional relief to Colorado businesses and hardworking families during these challenging times.”

Special sessions must be limited to a narrow set of topics. Fenberg and House Speaker KC Becker, DSESSION Boulder, said they expect those topics to include housing, child care and small business relief.

“With this rise in COVID cases we are anticipating that there are tough times ahead for Coloradans,” Becker said. “We’ve been obviously hoping Congress would do more. Without Congress stepping in, we’re talking about how and where and when we step in. We’ve had several of those conversations with the governor’s office. We started talking to Republicans more about it today.”

In a statement Monday evening, Senate GOP spokesman Sage Naumann said, “We are just learning of the possibility of a special session and can confirm that these conversations are occurring. We will have more to share in the coming days as we learn more.”

Democrats control both chambers of the legislature.

As governor, Polis can suspend certain state statutes, but his executive power is limited, even in a state of emergency. The legislature can make new laws and also has oversight of general fund spending.

A special session held this year would include lawmakers who were termlimited or otherwise not reelected. Members elected earlier this month will take office in January, when the next legislative session will begin.

It’s not yet clear when the special session would begin, lawmakers told The Post. Alex Burness: or @alex_burness

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