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What Are Legislative Committee Bills?

Only a majority of an Assembly committee need to agree on a committee bill’s introduction

By Chris Micheli, May 26, 2022 11:09 am

When we think of authoring bills, we generally, and appropriately, think about legislators. However, committees can also author bills. The rules related to committee bills are found in Assembly Rule 47 and Senate Rule 23.

Assembly Rules

Assembly Rule 47 deals with “Introduction and Reference of Bills.” Pursuant to subdivision (d), “the Committee on Budget may introduce a bill germane to any subject within the jurisdiction of the committee in the same manner as any Member.” In addition, subdivision (d) specifies that “any other standing committee may introduce a total of five bills in each year of a biennial session that are germane to any subject within the proper consideration of the committee.”

As a result, any standing committee (not select committees, however) can introduce a bill. However, each committee is limited to no more than 5 bills each year (or 10 per two-year session) and each committee can only introduce bills that are germane to their committee’s jurisdiction.

In addition, subdivision (e) provides, “No committee, except the Committee on Budget, may introduce or author a house resolution, concurrent resolution, or joint resolution.” As a result, the remaining standing committees can only introduce bills, and not resolutions.

Finally, subdivision (f) specifies that “a committee bill may not be introduced unless it contains the signatures of a majority of all of the members, including the chairperson, of the committee. If all of the members of a committee sign the bill, at the option of the committee chairperson the committee members’ names need not appear as authors in the heading of the printed bill.”

As a result, only a majority of a committee need to agree on a committee bill’s introduction and its subject matter. And, if all committee members agree to the committee bill, the bill can simply include the name of the committee, rather than all of the individual legislators.

Senate Rules

Senate Rule 23 deals with “Introduction of Bills by a Committee.” It contains two provisions. Subdivision (a) provides that “a standing committee may introduce a bill germane to any subject within the proper consideration of the committee in the same manner as any Member. A committee bill shall contain the signatures of all of the members of the committee.”

Like the Assembly, Senate standing committee can introduce a bill that is germane to the committee’s jurisdiction. However, unlike the Assembly, all of the Senate standing committee members must agree to author the bill in order to make it a committee bill.

In addition, subdivision (b) specifies that “a committee may amend into a bill related provisions germane to the subject and embraced within the title and, with the consent of the author, may constitute that bill a committee bill.” As a result, a standing committee can take over an existing bill by a legislator and effectively “gut-and-amend” the bill and take it over.

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