Hickenlooper announced the start date on Thursday morning. He's hoping during this special session lawmakers will once again consider civil unions for same-sex couples.
Hickenlooper promised to call the special session after the civil unions measure failed in a late-night standoff in the Republican-controlled House earlier this week.
Hickenlooper supports civil unions legislation. He says the proposal deserves a vote by the full House, which didn't happen because of the standoff Tuesday.
The civil unions special session would be the legislature's first since 2006, when they were called to Denver to consider immigration bills.
There are enough Republican votes to pass the civil unions bill, but most Republicans who are not in favor have leadership positions.
Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty said on Thursday that the special session is a full reset to him. He has the power to assign the bill to a different committee this time or to change members of committees, which could be used to kill the bill.
McNulty implied civil unions doesn't deserve a debate.
"The bottom line is Coloradans are not in agreement on this issue. It is hotly debated. There is a division. It is a divisive issue and frankly, from our perspective, the more that we can focus on what unites us as Coloradans, what brings us together as Coloradans, that's where we should be," he said.
Hickenlooper disagrees, saying the issue is too important to avoid.
"I consciously try to avoid divisive issues that are intensely polarizing. That being said, when it comes down to civil rights, you don't really have a choice," Hickenlooper said.
What the governor said goes to the core argument that supporters of civil unions make and they've put up big demonstrations to talk about it. Opponents are not stressing the core of their argument and they haven't come out to wave banners like the other side has.
"It's hard for someone, especially in this day and age, for people to come out and say, 'I don't want to give equal rights to someone,'" Rep. Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver), one of the bill's sponsors, said.
McNulty says if the civil unions bill passes, it's the first step in undoing the gay marriage-ban voters put into the state constitution.
"You are seeing gay marriage on the installment plan and that is a legitimate and substantive and sincere concern. And that's something that is, will be, and ought to be part of the debate," he said.
"If the mood of the public changes dramatically, and it would have to be fairly significant, they would rise up and vote and repeal - change the state constitution. This doesn't have anything to do with that right. If that happens, it's going to happen whether we have civil unions or not," Hickenlooper responded.
Civil unions is not the only issue on the agenda. There are also bills about water projects, whether to set a legal limit for marijuana use and driving, and a bill related to unemployment insurance.
The session will last at least three days. It can go as long as lawmakers want, so there won't deadline. That avoids issues like what happened on Tuesday.
The special session will cost $23,500 a day, but there is $350,000 in escrow to cover it for 14 days without any additional cost to taxpayers.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)