The legislature convened its first special session since 2006 just two days ago.
Lawmakers were called back to Denver by Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado), who wanted them to reconsider a civil unions measure for same-sex couples.
But the civil unions proposal failed in a Republican House committee Monday night, and many of the additional bills Hickenlooper asked lawmakers to consider also perished.
Republican House leaders called the special session unnecessary, saying that two of the three bills that did pass could have been handled by being merged into other bills on the final day of the regular session, but Democrats refused.
"It was pretty clear to us at that point that games were being played," Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty said. "It's unfortunate that Gov. Hickenlooper chose to do that, but it's his right to call a special session if he wants to do it as a political stunt, that's his call"
Democrats say it wasn't possible to merge either measure into existing bills.
Democratic Senate President Brandon Shaffer fired back at McNulty: "He's long on personal attacks and he's short on taking personal responsibility for his own actions."
As for Hickenlooper, he praised lawmakers for passing the few bills they did. One of those bills funds millions of dollars of water projects throughout the state. The governor has a reputation for avoiding partisan fights, but the civil unions issue quickly grew into a heated battle.
9NEWS Political Analyst Floyd Ciruli says the governor handled it fairly well, considering that President Obama happened to dial up intensity around the debate by announcing his support for gay marriage.
"I'm going to be surprised if [Gov. Hickenlooper] got hurt," Ciruli said. "But he recognized that he was vulnerable and interestingly this may be just the beginning of the governor's difficulty with this issue of partisanship because he clearly is going to be one of the leaders for Obama in this state."
Bills that would have passed in the regular session died in the three-day special session: The Senate rejected a proposal to set a blood marijuana limit for drivers and a bill to create benefit-corporations died in the House.
Lawmakers were poised to admit defeat on some of those priorities, and finish work on two remaining proposals before leaving the Capitol Wednesday afternoon.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)