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Understanding Legislative Committees

Understanding legislative committees

Legislative committees play an important role in creating new laws and appropriating funds to enable existing programs. As you connect with your legislators, is it helpful to know which committees your legislators serve on and how the committees influence the issues you care about.

Each chamber has standing committees that focus on a particular subject area. When a bill is introduced, it is assigned to a committee to thoroughly review, seek input from stakeholders and hold hearings for public comment. While a bill is in committee, it is often the most important time for the public to advocate for a specific bill. The committee discusses their findings before reporting their conclusions and recommendations to the entire chamber, where the bill is debated and a vote of the whole chamber is held. If the bill is passed, it goes to the other chamber, where the process is repeated.

Joint appropriation subcommittees are also organized by subject matter, but are comprised of members of both the House and Senate. Rather than creating new legislation, the appropriation subcommittees are tasked with allocating funds to existing departments and programs. They review department funding requests, state revenue estimates and the Governor’s suggested budget in order to make recommendations to one of the appropriations standing committees. When advocating specifically for funding, the best people to do so to are joint appropriation subcommittees members.

Committees most relevant to INHF legislative priorities include:


  • Natural Resources
  • Agriculture
  • Environmental Protection
  • Ways & Means
  • Appropriations 
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Transportation, Infrastructure and Capital

To learn more about committee structure and find full listings of legislative committees, committee members and committee schedules, visit