About Legislative Committees
Legislators face many challenges and responsibilities in legislative committees, each with their specific functions. Involved are three elements that play an integral part of the legislative environment. Issues evolve into bills, which then lead up to discussions and consideration of each bill, and the legislative responsibility of representing the citizens in how to spend their money is also carefully determined.
Standing committee meetings are held by the House and Senate during the legislative session. They offer citizens the opportunity to listen to and comment on legislative issues. If you are interested in a particular bill, you may contact the chair of a specific standing committee to schedule your testimony.
Interim Committees study key issues facing the state and recommend legislation for the upcoming session. These committees meet jointly on the 3rd Wednesday of every month between sessions from April through November and serve as an opportunity for the public to speak and give their input to the legislature concerning matters being considered. Offering valuable information and opinions regarding issues being considered in the interim committees is an excellent way to participate in the lawmaking process. Usually legislators are appointed to two interim committees as well as one appropriations committee.
The governor prepares a budget each year for which the legislature has a responsibility to review and approve funding for all of state government.
There are eight appropriations subcommittees, appointed from all the members of the House and Senate by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. Each of the appropriations subcommittees considers a specific portion of the budget and makes recommendations to the executive appropriations committee which consists of all the legislative leaders of both parties in the Senate and the House. The legislators alter the budget as necessary and pass a final appropriations bill.
After the budget has been adopted, it becomes the responsibility of the Governor and the Executive Branch to administer it. Excess funds in accounts at the end of the fiscal year are closed out (lapsed) except for certain funds which are noted in Utah statutes.
All of these functions -- Standing, Interim, and Appropriations committees -- are very open processes which allow for everyone to be involved.