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The most compelling decision before state lawmakers is whether House Republicans will agree to civil unions for same-sex couples. Most Republicans oppose the idea, but a half dozen Republicans say they support civil unions.

The votes exist, but there isn't much time. The bill must pass a second reading on the floor of the house by the end of Tuesday in order to leave time for a final vote Wednesday.

As of Monday, the bill was still stuck in the House Appropriations committee, which canceled a scheduled Monday meeting.

The chairman said he won't decide whether civil unions will get a hearing until Tuesday.

"It's an enormous bill for Colorado. The one thing I'm not going to do is rush the process just to get that bill pushing forward," said Rep. Jon Becker, R-District 63. "It was a decision - a key decision - by them to delay this bill to this point which puts it in jeopardy."

The delay he refers to is the length of time the bill took to pass through the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats. That did not happen until late April.

Supporters say the only reason it took so long is because they were seeking a Republican co-sponsor in the House, which they never found.

Either way, Democrats point out that a very late bill intended to help victims of the Lower North Fork Fire is on pace to clear through both houses in less time than the civil unions bill has been in the House.

"We have the path to get this to the governor's desk it is the leadership in the Republicans who will decide if this is going to happen or not," said Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, who is the House sponsor of the civil unions bill. "And if they decide not, we are not going to make it easy for them."

Lawmakers also face decisions on whether to change literacy guidelines in the early grades and whether to set a blood-level impairment standard for drivers and marijuana.
This week's decisions are the last many lawmakers will make before facing voters this fall.

So expect a flurry of political maneuvering as lawmakers jostle to meet campaign promises in the Legislature's final hours.