Committees are groups of senators who meet to discuss specialized subject matter of the Senate. Consistent with the rules prior to 1860, committee chairs are elected by the Senate members as is the committee membership. Bills and other items may be specifically referred to a particular committee for consideration of its expertise. Committees may also undertake other research activities as specified in standing orders to the committee by the Senate members.
Committees may be given certain independent oversight authority, but this is uncommon, and usually a committee reports its findings (specifically, or routinely) to the body at large, which then votes on how to proceed with the reported information.
The rules of the Senate allow for a slate of committees as a matter of course; as these are created and continued by the standing orders of the Senate, they are known as standing committees. Special committees may be formed from time to time by the Senate to investigate special matters; these are known as select committees, and they usually do not persist beyond a specified amount of time, usually the acceptance of its final report on the matter referred to it.
At the left you will find a list of the committees currently assembled by the restored organic Senate. Each page will provide more detailed information about that committee.