Gov. Hickenlooper will consider 'tweaks' of controversial gun control laws -- but not repealing them

Gov. discusses expectations for 2014 legislature

DENVER - Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says he's open to a conversation about whether the 2014 legislature needs to make any "tweaks" to a controversial package of gun control laws passed by Democrats and signed by Hickenlooper last year.   

Yet, during a wide-ranging news briefing Tuesday afternoon on the governor's expectations for the legislative session that kicks off Jan. 8, Hickenlooper said he doesn't anticipate lawmakers introducing new gun bills or repealing any laws passed in 2013. Gun rights advocates have filed a lawsuit against some of those new laws, including a restriction on the size of ammunition magazines and universal background checks for gun purchases.

In a backlash against the legislation, gun activists have won recall elections against two state Democratic lawmakers and another Democrat resigned to avoid a recall.

The governor announced no major new initiatives Thursday, but said he hopes next session is marked by bipartisanship. That's unlikely, given that Hickenlooper is running for re-election and Republicans are within a single seat of controlling the state Senate.

On other issues, the governor said he wants to learn why, under the federal Affordable Care Act, health insurance coverage is more expensive in mountain communities than in other parts of Colorado.

Addressing the cost of repairing massive damage to state roadways and bridges during September flooding, Hickenlooper said he doesn't see an immediate need for a gas tax hike. The Colorado transportation agency is using its $100 million contingency fund and an additional $35 million in federal funding to pay for those repairs.

If more funding is needed, he said Colorado can tap the state government reserve, which is 6.5 percent of the state budget.

Meanwhile, Colorado's interest in buying its own air fleet to combat wildfires will come down to a cost-benefit analysis of the proposal, Hickenlooper said.