• Brass-Tacks
  • "In the Know" Concurs and Conference Committee

    Okay, okay, so we brushed over a bit in the path of the bill. We talked about the bill’s path when it clears both chambers unscathed, we talked about passing into law and the opposite (v is for veto) but we didn’t talk about bills that get “edited.”
    Not every bill is perfect when it clears its first chamber and heads across the hall. Bills that pick up alterations, or amendments, following their initial chamber's passage don't fast track to the Governor for signage. Instead, they must be reviewed again by their original chamber. Amended bills can move forward via two paths, each starting with the committee chair where the bill was introduced.
    1. CONCUR
    The chair of the committee can concur with the amendment(s). If they do, the changes are reviewed on the floor for another full vote. This is not time to stir up the debate of the bill’s intent but scrutinize the changes made by the other chamber. Think quick and dirty overview. If the greens have it, life (and the bill) goes on hunky dunky to the governor’s desk for signage.
    If the chair, after additional work and consultation, does not agree with the second chamber's amendment, the bill comes before conference committee. Conference committee is made of three members of each the House of Reps and the Senate. These members are selected by the chairs of the committee that worked on the bill while in their respective chambers. The chair of this new committee comes from the bill's house of origin. They will provide a recommendation forward and the bill will again come before the appropriate body for full vote.
    The bills are voted on in full if they have changed in any way from the way they left when they were passed on the chamber floor. For example - if the House proposed and passed Bill X and the Senate adds Amendment 7, and the conference committee makes no changes, the House will have to have a fresh floor vote on Bill X, Amendment 7. However, if the committee alters Amendment 7 to be Amendment 5 - the bill would see another day in both chambers.
    Needless to say, third period is where things can get a bit messy. Don’t worry, GNDC is watching. ALLLLWAYS watching.