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June 28, 2006 08:00 AM UTC

Special Session Called, Compromise Measure Reached

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  • by: Colorado Pols

From the Rocky Mountain News:

Gov. Bill Owens late Tuesday called a special legislative session to deal with immigration issues, hours after the two warring sides of a proposed ballot measure announced a stunning compromise. The session will include the compromise proposal, the governor’s office said at 9:15 p.m. Details of the legislative session are expected at a 2 p.m. news conference today.

Earlier Tuesday, leaders of Defend Colorado Now, which wants to deny government services to illegal immigrants, said they reached agreement with their opponents, Keep Colorado Safe. Both sides issued a joint statement asking lawmakers to pass a package of laws that discourage employers from hiring illegal immigrants and tighten eligibility checks for taxpayer-funded benefits.

Under the agreement, Defend Colorado Now will drop its campaign to ask voters to deny services to illegal immigrants.

“This is a huge development, and it’s welcome,” said House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, a party to the agreement. “It could be the turning point in this debate.”

Former Gov. Dick Lamm, an early and outspoken critic of illegal immigration and leader of Defend Colorado Now, brokered the deal with former Denver mayor Federico Pe?a, chairman of Keep Colorado Safe. But Owens and at least one other key Republican were angry.

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