Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Public Administration


This study examined the North Dakota legislature's committee system in the 1991 session. Specifically, the study evaluated the influence and efficacy of North Dakota's Committee system according to criteria offered by the state legislative scholar Alan Rosenthal. Individual features and procedures of North Dakota's legislature have been evaluated according to how well they contribute to, or detract from, an efficiently operating legislature.

This study also examined the degree to which the full floor supported its committees' recommendation once the bills came up for final floor work. It was hypothesized that committees in states serve as important predictors of voting behavior on the full floor (as is the case in Congress). This is measured by examining the percentage of congruence between committee recommendations and floor action. Whether, and to what extent, this is actually the case is addressed.

The House and Senate have been ill be compared in terms of success rates of committee recommendations and variables hypothesized to affect success rates will be examined. Other factors, shown to distinguish between powerful and weak committee systems have been examined as well. These include: 1) the ability and willingness of committees to shape legislation, 2) the ability of committees to screen legislation, 3) the role of committees in formulating legislation, and 4) the extent to which the floor accepts the recommendations made in committee.

Several factors thought to influence the success of committees have been tested to determine whether any relationship exists. These factors can be broadly identified as seniority of chair and expertise of committee members. Inferential statistics are used to determine if a relationship exists and its strength.

Generally, the results show that the North Dakota legilature shows a great deal of deference to its committees' recommendations (93% of recommendations were accepted on the floor). There appears be little relation between any of the variables studied and committee success rates in the North Dakota legislature. The variables studied were: tenure of chair, returning chair or new chair, average tenure of committee members, and number of returning committee members.

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