Types of Legislative Committees


By Chris Micheli

In both the California State Assembly and the State Senate, there are several types of committees that operate to conduct the business of the two houses of the Legislature. These committees are the Standing Committees (with a number of subcommittees), Select Committees, Special Committees (just in the Assembly), and Joint Committees.

Standing Committee hearings are the forums for public input on pending legislation. Measures are heard in Standing Committees which meet on a regular basis throughout the legislative year. All of the Standing Committees are policy committees, except the two fiscal committees, which are the Appropriations and Budget Committees. Joint Committees have membership from both houses and consider issues of joint concern.

Committee information available online includes committee membership, staff, addresses, phone numbers, meeting schedules, and policy jurisdictions. In terms of the Standing Committees, there are 32 of them in the Assembly and 21 of them in the Senate. Created pursuant to Assembly and Senate Rules, the Standing Committees consider legislation, the state budget, and internal legislative matters, as determined by their jurisdictions. Jurisdictions are set by the Assembly and Senate Rules Committee. Standing Committees must meet specific standards for notice, analyses, quorums, and voting.

Both the Assembly and the Senate have Select Committees, which are technically subcommittees of each house’s General Research Committee.

The Assembly also has Special Committees. In 2017, those special committees were the Assembly Legislative Ethics Committee as well as the Special Committee on the Office of the Attorney General.

Pursuant to Joint Rules 36.5 and 36.7, there are a number of Joint Committees of the Legislature. Many of them were established pursuant to statutes or resolutions adopted by the two houses. During the 2017 Session, the Joint Committees are:

Joint Committee on Arts (Resolution Chapter 101, Statutes of 1984. Continuous existence.)

Joint Committee on Fairs Allocation and Classification (Food and Agriculture Code Sections 4531, 4532, 4533, 4534, 4535. Continuous existence.)

Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (Resolution Chapter 88, Statutes of 1981. Continuous existence.)

Joint Committee on Rules (Joint Rule 40. Continuous existence.)

Joint Legislative Audit (Government Code Sections 10501, 10502, Joint Rule 37.3. Continuous existence.)

Joint Legislative Budget (Government Code Sections 9140, 9141, Joint Rule 37. Continuous existence.)

Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies (Government Code Section


Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management (Resolution Chapter 31, Statutes of 2011. Continuous existence.)


Chris Micheli is a Principal with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at McGeorge School of Law in its Capital Lawyering Program.


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