Higher Education Conference Committee reviews bills
The ten-member Higher Education Conference Committee met Wednesday evening to review the House and Senate bills. Research and Fiscal staff presented the similarities and differences in the two bills. The committee will meet again early next week to hear public testimony.
The documents listed below were used by committee members:
- Senate and House language bill side-by-side
- Fiscal side-by-side spreadsheet
- Language Differences Summary sheet
What is a Conference Committee?
Because language in the House version differs from the Senate version in each of these omnibus bills, a new panel with up to 10 legislators, usually representing both parties, must determine what a final bill will look like before each chamber approves it and sends it to the governor. In the next few weeks, the legislative calendar is likely to be brimming with conference committees.
A conference committee consists of three to five members from each chamber – often called “conferees” – tasked with reconciling differences between House and Senate proposed legislation. It’s another round of committee-like work, with additional chances for outside input as legislators head into the session’s homestretch.
Joint rules outline what the conference committees can and can’t do. For instance, conference committees can’t schedule meetings between midnight and 7 a.m., but can vote to extend their meetings past midnight; or chairs must rotate between representatives and senators every calendar day.