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Saturday, April 26, 2014
The Power of the Money Committees
By News Release @ 3:29 AM :: 3627 Views :: Hawaii State Government

The Power of the Money Committees

News Release from Senator Laura Thielen, April 21, 2014

During Conference Committee, the rules change. Each bill is assigned a “Conference Committee Team” by the House and by the Senate.  Each Team negotiates the final language of each bill.

This means if 400 bills are moving through Conference Committee, then we have 800 Conference Committee Teams – 2 per bill: 1 House; 1 Senate.

Each Conference Committee Team will include all Chairs – or their designee – of the subject matter committee(s) the bill was referred to. If space permits, other persons may also be assigned to that bill’s conference committee.

The prior post looked at the number of Conference Committee Teams individual Senators were assigned to. But if you only look at individual legislators’ assignments, you will miss seeing the real scope of power of the money committees (House Finance; Senate Ways & Means).  Because those committees are assigned so many bills, the Chairs can’t sit on all the conference committees. So they appoint designees for many bills.

A quick glance at the table below, and you see how powerful the money committees are. The vast majority of bills in Conference Committee include money. No other subject matter committee comes close in terms of power and influence during conference committee.

A distant second is Judiciary and Labor; more distant third is Consumer Protection.

About 81 bills have already passed into law without going to conference. Many of those were assigned to either or both Consumer Protection and Judiciary. So the scope of influence of those two committees is a bit greater than just the numbers below.

Remember, because a Conference Committee Team for any given bill may include a legislators from 2-3 committees, you don’t add the number of bills in the table below. I think the total number of bills active in conference is somewhere below 400 at this time.

SENATE COMMITTEE SENATOR BILLS
Tourism Kahele 12
Transportation & International Affairs English 17
Hawaiian Affairs Shimabukuro 17
Higher Education Taniguchi 24
Technology & the Arts Wakai 29
Education Tokuda 31
Energy & Environment Gabbard 33
Agriculture Nishihara 34
Water & Land Solomon 39
Economic Development, Government Relations & Housing Dela Cruz 40
Health Green 52
Human Services Chun-Oakland 62
Public Safety, Intergovernmental & Military Affairs Espero 73
Consumer Protection Baker 83
Judiciary & Labor Hee 143
Ways and Means Ige 366

 

I’ve only included the Senate Committees. If you want to look up the House Committees, use this link to the Capitol Web site.

  *   *   *   *   *

More Data on Conference Committee

News Release from Senator Laura Thielen, April 17, 2014

It’s interesting to see how the Senate assigns the 350 bills in conference committee (497 if you add in all the bills held over from the 2013 session conference committees).

 “A” BRACKET COMMITTEES

 

WAM (Ige)

JDL (Hee)

CPN (Baker)

Chair or Co-Chair

137

136

75

Member

23

1

10

TOTAL

160

137

85

“A Bracket Committees” are Ways and Means (WAM, or “da money”); Judiciary and Labor (JDL); and, Consumer Protection (CPN).  Almost every Senate bill goes through one or more of these three committees.

 THREE RANDOM COMMITTEES

 

HMS (Chun-Oakland)

EDU (Tokuda)

WTL (Solomon)

Chair or Co-Chair

95

32

36

Member

19

2

2

TOTAL

114

34

38

HMS = Health and Human Services.  EDU = Education.  WTL = Water and Land.

 THREE RANDOM SENATORS WHO DON’T CHAIR ANY COMMITTEES

 

President (Kim)

VP (Kouchi)

Freshman (Ruderman)

Chair or Co-Chair

0

60

3

Member

0

69

36

TOTAL

0

129

39

You want to watch the number of Chair and Co-Chair assignments.  These are the positions that have the most ability to negotiate and make the final sign off on the recommended vote.

If you’re interested in checking out conference committee assignments by Legislator (for House or Senate), or by other breakouts, you can do so by clicking here.

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