Committee News

A committee is a group of people who are subordinate to a deliberative assembly (such as an organisation or parliament). The assembly sends matters into committee for consideration so that the work can be more thoroughly explored than would be possible in plenary sessions. There are many kinds of committees in organisations, such as audit or elections committees, fundraising or program committees, and steering or awards committees.

Usually, the work of a committee is reported to the assembly when it has finished its work. The report may describe the methods used, the facts uncovered, and any conclusions reached. It may also include recommendations. A committee may have a chairman, or a chairman may be selected by the body.

In the United Nations, the General Assembly committees discuss important questions affecting the world. At the current session, the Third Committee, for example, has been considering a range of draft resolutions covering topics such as women’s rights and empowerment, the protection of children, indigenous issues and the treatment of refugees.

During the course of their work, committees hold hearings. These are often open to the public, and provide an opportunity for members of the public to present their views to committee members. This is an integral part of how a democracy functions.

After a hearing, the committee must decide what action to take on a bill. It can choose to report the bill, or it can table the bill, or it may decide that further consideration is not required and refer the matter back to the assembly. If the committee approves extensive amendments to a bill, it will generally prepare what is known as a ‘committee engrossment’. This will incorporate all the changes, and have a new number. The committee engrossment is then shown on the Minnesota Legislation and Bill Status website.

As each of these stages occurs, a committee’s website will update with new information. These updates are an excellent way to stay up to date on the progress of a committee. They can be viewed by clicking on the committee name in the panel at the top of the page, or by choosing a committee from the list in the sidebar to the left. Alternatively, you can browse through all available committees by using the filter options in the sidebar. Each committee makes its hearing schedules public, and these are accessible through the ‘Committee Hearings’ option in the menu bar at the top of the page. All upcoming committee hearings are displayed here, alongside all other House schedules. You can also view past hearings, and hear transcripts and videos of previous hearings, on the ‘Committee Hearings’ page. The ‘Committees’ menu also contains links to all committee websites.