A committee’s responsibility is to consider the merits of a bill and determine whether it can be improved by amending the language or by making additions or deletions. The Committee Chair determines which bills receive hearings and the date of each bill hearing. Weekly committee agendas list bills to be heard. Upon hearing a bill, committee members may offer amendments. Once a committee votes favorably to “do pass” or “do pass amend” a bill, it is eligible to advance to the full Senate for further consideration. Bills that do not receive a majority vote by the committee, do not advance. Not all assigned bills receive final committee action, thus sifting out unworkable or objectionable ideas. If this occurs, the proposal is considered dead for the session.
Committee hearings are open to the public. Citizens are encouraged to attend committee hearings at the Statehouse and share their opinions on a proposed bill by signing up to testify on a particular bill before a committee hearing begins. On rare occasions, some committees will hold public hearings around the state in efforts to gather a wider range of public opinion.