Committees of Conference

If a bill has been amended by the non-originating body, it is sent back to the originating body for concurrence.

House bills that have been amended by the Senate are listed in the House Calendar.   (This information is not necessarily current in the bill dockets.)

At this point, the House policy committee that originally heard the bill, makes one of three recommendations:

  • The originating body concurs, or agrees, and the bill is sent to the Governor.
  • The originating body nonconcurs, or does not agree, and requests a Committee of Conference between the two bodies. In this case, the Senate President and the House Speaker normally appoint a conference committee of members of both bodies to work out a compromise.
  • The originating body does not concur, no Committee of Conference is requested, and the bill dies.

If a committee of conference is requested by full body:

Appointment of Conferees:

The Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate appoint Committee of Conference members, based on the recommendation of the policy committee Chair(s).

Chairmen should recommend only those members from their policy committees.

If the bill has gone to more than one committee, the members may come from the different committees as determined by the Speaker.

The Speaker shall make the final decision of Conference committee members, and the committee choices are generally limited to those who support the House position.

The first named House member shall serve as Chairman of the House Conferees.

Meetings:

The chairman may request a side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate bills.

The time and place of the first meeting is set by the House Conferee Chairman and reported to the Clerk’s Office.

Each meeting shall be posted in the Clerk’s Office and outside the committee room at least 24 hours in advance.

If a Committee of Conference meeting recesses, the reconvening time shall be posted in the Clerk’s office and outside the committee room.

The sponsor of a bill that is in Committee of Conference shall, upon request, be provided an opportunity to be heard.

The House and Senate Conferees on a bill shall meet jointly but vote separately while in conference.

 A unanimous vote of both the House and Senate Conferees, voting separately, is necessary for an agreed upon report to be sent to the House and Senate.  [The Speaker may remove and replace individual conferees at will.]

Allowable changes:

The Committee of Conference may not change the title of the bill.

The Committee also may not add amendments that are not germane to the subject matter of the bill or contain subject matter that has been indefinitely

postponed.  [A non-germane amendment is one in which the subject matter is not contained in either the House or Senate version of the bill. [House Rule 49 (g)]

Reports:

The Senate writes reports on House bills and the House writes reports on Senate bills.

House reports are written by the first-named House member on the Committee of Conference. This should contain a complete explanation of all changes made to the bill since it was passed by the House and must be submitted to the House Clerk for printing in the calendar.

All reports of conference committees must be distributed to the members of each body before action can be taken.

Vote:

The originating body acts first on a conference committee report.

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