Organization and Leadership

Committees

A committee is a group of legislators appointed by the presiding officer of the house or the senate to which proposed legislation is referred or a specific task is assigned.

The size of the legislature and the volume of work confronting it each session make lengthy deliberation on all proposed measures by the entire membership a difficult task. For this reason, the basic business in both chambers is conducted according to the committee system. Committees to consider introduced bills and advise on their disposition are created in the rules of procedure of the respective chambers. Although nearly all bills are referred to a committee, a large number of bills are never reported out of committee. Thus, committee action is a crucial step in the process by which a bill becomes law.

The presiding officers (the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor) have substantial power over the committee process.  

The Lieutenant Governor appoints all chairs and members of Senate committees, and refers all bills to committee. The lieutenant governor also schedules most bills for consideration on the Senate floor. Bills that are local or uncontested are scheduled by the Senate Administration Committee.

The speaker appoints chairs and members of all House committees and refers all bills to a committee. Bills are scheduled for consideration on the House floor by the Calendars Committee.