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Michigan Legislature 101: Why do we need committees?

Legislators in Lansing work on a wide variety of policies from energy to healthcare to finance and more. Nobody can be an expert on every single issue, which is why committees are critical in helping legislators hone in on certain issues.

Although some may see the legislative process as inefficient, the committee process helps bring forward policies before the entire House and Senate for consideration. Only those issues that truly merit larger consideration or potential enactment rise to the level of being considered by the full legislature.

The Michigan House of Representatives is divided up into 25 committees, and the Senate into 21 committees. This system allows policy makers to dedicate their attention to specific issue areas.

Did You Know?

Standing committee meetings are open to the public! Do you want to see energy issues debated? Details can be found on the Michigan legislature website.

The Role of Committees

Once a bill is introduced, it is sent to the appropriate committee.  Committee members read the bill, debate it, and weigh the pros and cons, and ultimately decide whether to vote it through, table it, or vote it down. Will they recommend the bill as-is? Will they make changes to the original language of the bill (amendments)? Could it be reassigned to another committee? All of these are possibilities.

Once a bill makes its way through committees, it will advance to the floor of the House and Senate to receive a vote.  Once the bill makes its way through the House and Senate, it is sent to the desk of the governor for the final decision. Want to know more about the process of a bill turning into a law? You can get more in-depth information here.

2016 Energy Law

One of the most important committees for developing Michigan energy policy is the Energy Committee. A major victory for affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy came from the Senate Energy and Technology Committee. Both the Senate and the House committees worked together to champion what is now known as the 2016 Energy Law. The bill became law after robust bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and a signature form Governor Rick Snyder.

Want to know more about MI’s Legislature?

Check out our recent blogs here and here on Michigan’s state government. Find out more about what happens in Lansing, and how policy is created!