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Committee roles in the Texas legislature

Mónica Dávila is the behavioral health policy fellow with Prosper Waco. Part of her work involves helping the community to better understand our legislative process. Her latest post explains Texas legislative committees.

Committee structure and roles For the 88th Texas Legislative session, there are 37 Texas House committees and 16 Texas Senate committees. Each committee has a committee chair, vice chair, committee clerk, and committee director. Here is a brief overview of each role’s responsibilities:

Committee Chair

  • Scheduling hearings for bills and other matters

  • Setting agendas, such as what bills will be heard

  • Conducting and maintaining hearings

  • Managing committee business, including deadlines for bills and ensuring that all necessary documents are maintained

  • Guiding the committee’s work, such as shaping the committee’s work and priorities

  • Presenting committee reports

Vice Chair

  • Plays a supporting role to the committee chair

  • Supporting the committee’s work through participation in discussions, offering input and feedback, and helping to shape the committee’s priorities and recommendations

  • Conducting research and analysis on bills

  • Representing the committee, when committee chair is absent

Committee Clerk

  • Maintaining records, such as meeting minutes and transcripts

  • Assists committee chair with scheduling meetings and preparing agendas

  • Notifying members and the public about upcoming meetings and hearing

  • Assisting with research

  • Coordinating with other staff and agencies

  • Providing logistical support

Committee Director

  • Managing the committee staff by assigning tasks, providing support and guidance, and more

  • Developing the committee agenda along with the committee members

  • Conducting research and analysis

  • Works closely with committee to draft legislation and amendments

  • Managing the committee budget

  • Serving as a liaison between the committee and other stakeholders

Why do committee assignments matter? Every piece of legislation will be referred to its appropriate committee. Committee chairs will decide which bills get scheduled for hearings. Although a bill can get scheduled for a hearing, the committee chair will decide if and when a vote will be called. A bill needs to be voted out of the committee to move forward; the next step would be for the bill to be brought to the chamber.

Mónica Dávila is the behavioral health policy fellow with Prosper Waco.

It is a position funded by the Hogg Foundation.


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