The following is a brief description from the Assembly about the role of committees:
The Committee System
With the volume of legislation that is introduced and considered, it is impossible for each Member of the Legislature to review in detail all of the changes and additions in existing law that are proposed. Any such proposal is embodied in what is called a “bill.” It is expected that the Legislature will consider, along with a great number of other legislative measures, approximately 5,500 bills during the current two-year session. In order to cope with the multitude of bills and the variety of subject matter introduced, a system of policy committees has been established. The committees, each varying greatly in size and scope, may best be described as the basic working units of the Legislature. In appointing Members to committees, every effort is made to give importance to their previous experience and training. This makes it possible for the Legislature to consider in depth the numerous bills which are presented each session. The number and subject of the committees change from time to time to reflect the current areas of concern to the state. Following a bill’s introduction in the House, it is referred by the Rules Committee to a committee where it may be scheduled for hearing. The hearing is the point at which the general public and interested parties are invited to testify in support of, or opposition to, the bill. It is here, at the committee hearing, that many of the important policy questions are resolved. Some bills require hearings by more than one committee, in which case a committee or the House may re-refer the bill to another committee. For example, bills with monetary implications must be re-referred to the appropriate fiscal committee in each House. When testimony is completed, the policy or fiscal committee makes its decision on the proposed legislation and reports its recommendation to the House.