Committee Organization in the General Assembly

Genevieve Markee

Observers of U.S. legislatures have developed several theories to explain committee organization. According to the informational theory, committees provide information about policy outcomes and produce legislation preferred by the median chamber member. According to the partisan model, on the other hand, committees' primary goal is to support the political agenda of the majority party. Finally, under the conditional party government model, the degree of majority party control over committees is dependent on electoral competitiveness and polarization. My study tests the extent to which these three theories explain committee organization in the Virginia General Assembly. I put forth and test several hypotheses that link these theories to the party affiliation, committee assignments, and ideology scores of General Assembly members over the past twenty-six years. Ultimately, I find that committee organization in this period has reflected all three models, but their applicability varies between sessions and between committees.


Political Science


Dan Palazzolo