A committee is a group of people subordinate to a deliberative assembly that explores an issue more fully than would be possible in the assembly itself. Usually the assembly sends matters into committee as a way of testing the strength and validity of arguments against or for a particular measure. A committee can be formed for a specific purpose or may continue indefinitely. An organization may have several committees, including the board of directors or management committee, and these have a variety of functions. The term can also refer to a group of persons who form a steering committee to oversee the direction and operation of a project.

When a committee has finished its work, it provides a report to its parent body, listing the methods it used, the facts uncovered and the conclusions reached. This can include any recommendations for action that the committee makes. The parent assembly can then take the report as it reads or may choose to discharge the committee from further consideration of the matter, sending it back to the assembly for its own handling.

Committees often meet on a regular basis, although meetings can also be called as needed to deal with an urgent issue or an emergency situation. They can be held in private or in public, depending on the needs of the committee and the rules of the assembly. A committee can also be tasked with producing written materials, or it can be asked to simply act as a forum for discussion.

A chairman leads the committee’s work, ensuring that the meeting stays focused on the appropriate topic and recognizing members to speak. Most committees follow the formal rules of their assembly, such as Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised, but smaller committees can operate with more informal procedures.

At the end of a hearing, the committee votes to report the bill or resolution. The committee can also table the bill, deciding that it has no further interest and putting it off for future consideration, or accept extensive amendments and report the amended bill, known as a “clean bill.” The outcome of the vote is recorded in the bill’s history in Minnesota Legislation and Bill Status.

After a hearing, the committee may also decide to write a fuller record of the proceedings by releasing its written report, which records all of the testimony and questioning. These reports are often available from the committee, and from the legislature’s website or through a library that subscribes to Government Publishing Office’s govinfo service.