LAD Test Site #2.2 (about LAD)

Legislative Analysis Division

Jeffrey Hudson, Division Director

About the

Legislative Analysis Division

Seeking Legal Advice?

Click here to access resources for legal assistance or to find a private attorney. Legislative Analysis Division staff are not authorized to provide legal advice. Select the drop downs below for information about the core legislative functions and duties of LAD.

Bill Requests

Although most bill drafting requests are routinely sent to the legislature’s Bill Drafting Division, the legal staff of the Legislative Analysis Division can and frequently does draft legislation for commissions or for individual legislators. LAD may also provide summaries as bills progress through committees and chambers.

Information Requests

The staff of the Legislative Analysis Division answers information requests from legislators on legislation enacted, pending, or contemplated. Any legislator may directly contact any of the professional staff, including the librarian, on any request for information. The first priority of this Division is to serve the members of the General Assembly; however, the staff also answers questions from other North Carolina State and local governmental agencies, from other states, the federal government, and private citizens on pending and ratified legislation. The staff will supply information to legislators so that they can answer the requests of their constituents and make presentations. The staff will also provide information to assist legislators in the preparation of speeches or letters to constituents; however, the staff does not draft speeches or letters to constituents. Upon the request of a legislator, the staff will provide a legislator’s constituent with an outline of relevant issues to be considered and refer them to the state or federal office regulating the matter, private counsel, or legal aid office. However, Legislative Analysis Division staff does not advise private citizens on their rights or duties under the law, and the staff does not undertake to provide bill drafts or substantial research information to the public except upon the specific request of individual legislators.

Standing Committees & Subcommittees

During the legislative sessions, the Legislative Analysis Division provides the professional staff (attorneys, legislative analysts, and research assistants) to most standing committees and subcommittees of both chambers. The primary role of the professional staff to a standing committee is to analyze legislation referred to that committee. The analysis or explanation is usually in writing, if time permits. The attorneys point out any serious constitutional problems, legislative impact on existing statutes, regulations and procedures, policies, and any ambiguities. The legislative analyst’s examine the legislation’s impact on policies and procedures. Professional staff is prepared to answer questions about the legislation and to gather and present any information the committee or its individual members might want in connection with the legislation. The professional committee staff is available to draft or help members draft amendments to or proposed committee substitutes for legislation in that committee and to describe these proposals for the committee.

Interim Study and Oversight Committees & Commissions

Between legislative sessions, the General Assembly studies many issues of importance to the State. These studies are performed by special interim commissions or committees consisting of legislators, other state officials, and members of the general public. Legislative Analysis Division personnel, as well as those from the General Assembly’s other divisions, serve as staff to these commissions. The staff helps to arrange the agenda for each meeting, edits the minutes of the meeting, provides legal and other analysis, obtains information necessary for the study, serves as a liaison between the commission and other groups interested in the subject matter of the study, drafts interim and final study reports, and drafts any legislation that would implement the recommendations of the reports. Click each committee below for more information.


What is a standing committee?

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have standing committees that are organized around various public policy areas in order to facilitate the processing of legislation. When a bill is introduced in the legislature, it is typically sent to the standing committee which has jurisdiction. For example, a bill about clean energy would go to the Committee on Environment; a bill increasing the penalty for a criminal offense would go to a Judiciary Committee. These committees hold hearings on legislation and make recommendations to the House or Senate on whether a particular bill should pass. Typically, meetings of standing committees are held during morning hours on days when the legislature is in session. Committees may meet on a regular basis, often bi-weekly or weekly, or meetings may be called as the need arises.

What happens to a bill when it is referred to a standing committee?

Once a bill has been sent to a committee, the committee chair may set a date and time for a hearing on the proposal. When the time comes to consider a particular bill, the sponsor or sponsors will explain the proposal to the committee. Any member of the committee may ask the sponsor questions. Then the chairman will ask if anyone in the audience wants to comment on the proposal — either for or against. Those persons also can be questioned by committee members. When everyone has spoken, the committee discusses the proposal, considers any amendments and decides if the bill should go forward or be stopped. Some bills are said to “die in committee,” meaning that the committee chair does not schedule the bill for hearing or the committee decides that the bill has no merit.

How can I keep track of a standing committee’s schedule/agenda?

You can keep track of the schedule/agenda of a standing committee by following the daily calendar available in the lobby of the Legislative Building or the Legislative Office Building, or by checking the legislature’s website ( If you are interested in a particular bill, you should plan to be in the committee room when the hearing on the bill is scheduled. When you arrive at the meeting room, you may be asked to sign an attendance sheet indicating you were at the meeting. You can simply observe the proceedings or you can ask to present additional information to the committee or tell the members how you feel about the proposal. This is where the citizen can have direct input to the legislature on any proposed legislation.

Study Committees and Commissions meet in the interim periods between regular legislative sessions to consider complex or major issues and suggest solutions to the challenges that face the State. Generally, study committees are comprised of members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Members of the public are appointed to serve on some of these committees. In study committee meetings and hearings, members are informed by experts and other witnesses about issues related to the charge of the committee. Study Committees sometimes hold meetings and hearings in various communities around the State to allow for greater input from citizens. Study Committees deliberate and make reports to the legislature with recommendations that usually lead to the introduction of legislation.

Select committees are established by the House of Representatives or the Senate for limited periods and purposes. This often occurs because the existing standing committee system does not address an issue comprehensively, or because a particular event sparks interest in an investigation. The appointment and authorization of a Select Committee is sometimes done by a letter of authorization issued by the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. The letter of authorization outlines the Committee’s duties and powers and generally directs the Committee to prepare a report or make recommendations based on its findings. A Select Committee generally expires on a specified date, or upon completion of its assigned duties and the filing of its report.

Oversight Committees are established by State law for a specific purpose, and are usually focused on providing some form of legislative oversight of a State agency or a policy area. In general, Oversight Committees focus on the implementation and administration of programs created by law. Oversight Committees examine, on a continuing basis, the expenditures, administration and policy of principal government agencies or departments.

The General Assembly, in Chapter 120 of the General Statutes, has established the following Oversight Committees:

  • Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee
  • Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee
  • Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety
  • Joint Legislative Administrative Procedure Oversight Committee
  • Joint Legislative Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee
  • Joint Legislative Elections Oversight Committee
  • Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee
  • Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Unemployment Insurance
  • Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services
  • Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Health Choice
  • Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology
  • Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Capital Improvements
  • Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on the North Carolina State Lottery
  • Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government
  • Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources

There are other committees, such as the Environmental Review Commission, that function as Oversight Committees.

Whenever a bill is passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate in differing forms because of amendments added by one of the houses, and the two bodies cannot agree on identical language for the bill in question, each house may appoint a number of conferees to meet with conferees of the other house to seek a resolution of the differences existing in the two versions of the bill. This temporary joint committee formed to resolve differences in Senate-passed and House-passed versions of a particular measure is called a Conference Committee. When a Conference Committee is appointed, the committee can consider only those matters that are in dispute. When a Conference Committee reaches an agreement, it prepares a conference report that describes the agreement reached by the House and the Senate. The conference report must be signed by a majority of the conferees of each house, and one copy of the conference report is offered in the House and one copy is offered in the Senate. Both houses must adopt the conference report in order for the bill to advance toward becoming law.