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Monday, March 10, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - Conference committee time; how they work

This is the last week of the 2014 legislative session and it is the week of conference committees. If a House or Senate does not consent to changes that were made to a bill by the second house, it may vote to dissent. In such a case, a conference committee will be appointed in an effort to resolve the differences. The Barb Berggoetz and Tony Cook story in the Sunday Indianapolis Star includes this sidebar:

Legislative leaders appoint four members to each conference committee, two from each party and chamber, to try to reach consensus over different versions of a bill. That process can be averted, though, if one chamber agrees to the changes made in the other chamber.

The committees meet once in public, sometimes take testimony from lobbyists. Then they recess, most often not officially meeting again. They talk among themselves and try to compromise, with the goal of having each “conferee” sign the bill. Before the conferees can sign off on the bill, though, they take the proposed compromise before their caucuses for approval.

If it’s not acceptable, they go back to negotiating. If they can’t agree, the majority legislative leaders have the power to replace lawmakers with those who will support the bill. Because Republicans control both the House and Senate, it’s the Democrats who likely would be replaced.

If the compromise language is acceptable to the caucuses, the bill goes back to each chamber in the revised form for a final vote before heading to the governor’s desk. He then has 14 days after it hits his desk to sign or veto it.

Here is another post on conference committees, from a 2011 story by Dan Carden.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 10, 2014 07:25 AM
Posted to Indiana Government