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Standing Committees

From Chapter III of the 2013 Legislative Manual:
 
     

Each house of the Nevada Legislature has its own standing committees, the members of which are announced (Senate) or appointed (Assembly) by the presiding officer in accordance with current standing rules. The number of members is determined by these rules, and there are often changes made at the beginning of each session. In the Senate, the composition and leadership of the committees is determined by the Majority Floor Leader. Minority member party memberships in the Senate committees are recommended in caucuses of the minority party. In the Assembly, the Speaker traditionally makes the committee appointments and uses such appointments as part of the campaign to be Speaker. The Speaker also designates the Chair and Vice Chair of each committee. Usually, minority party memberships in Assembly committees are determined in caucuses of the minority party, and the Speaker appoints the members as agreed to in such caucuses. With some exceptions, the general practice is for the party membership on committees to reflect the composition of the entire Assembly. Basic rules for the functioning of committees are contained in the standing rules of the houses, the adopted rules of the committees, and Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure, which has been adopted by both houses as the basis of parliamentary practice in cases in which it is applicable and in which it is not inconsistent with the Constitution and the standing rules and customs, usage, and precedence of the respective houses.

The names and memberships of Senate and Assembly standing committees for the 2013 Session are listed in Chapter I of [the] manual.

Committees are the workshops of the Legislature. Visitors to the two chambers are often amazed at the rapidity with which business is dispatched, few realizing that long hours in committee sessions have transpired prior to any floor action on a bill. It is in committee that hearings are held, testimony from interested parties is taken, and bills are analyzed line by line for their legal and social merits.

Committees make several types of recommendations on legislative measures that come before them for consideration. A committee of either house may report a bill back to the whole house with a recommendation of "Do pass"; "Amend, and do pass, as amended"; or "Do pass, as amended" (from referral committee only on a bill previously amended in the same house). Such recommendations mean that a committee considers a bill to have sufficient merit to justify its enactment, either as introduced or with appropriate amendments. Other recommendations concerning a bill include: (1) a report that the bill be passed and rereferred or amended and rereferred to a specified committee; (2) "Indefinitely Postpone"; and (3) "Do pass, and place on consent calendar." This last procedure is discussed later under the heading "Consent Calendar."

A standing committee of either house may report a one-house or concurrent resolution back to the floor with a "Be adopted" recommendation. Resolutions may be amended and/or rereferred by recommendation as well.

A committee may also report a bill or resolution "Without recommendation," or "Amend, but without recommendation," which means that the committee was unable to reach a conclusion on what it believes should be the action to be taken by the whole house.

Senate Standing Rule No. 53 requires that minutes and complete records of all bills be maintained. Three Assembly Standing Rules (Nos. 46, 47, and 48) require that records be kept of committee votes on bills or resolutions and of committee proceedings. Furthermore, these records, minutes, and documents are required to be filed in the offices of the Legislative Counsel Bureau upon completion.

Standing committees may perform other functions besides considering legislation. For example, Senate Standing Rule No. 54 encourages each standing committee of the Senate to plan and conduct a general review of selected programs of State agencies or other areas of public interest within the committee's jurisdiction.

     


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Last updated 1/29/2013


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