Committees work in a specific field or carry out other tasks; for example, they verify whether public expenditures are justified, decide whether the Code of Ethics has been violated, or coordinate Latvia’s national positions on European Union issues.
In accordance with the Rules of Procedure, the Saeima currently has 17 standing committees.
After the Saeima convenes, it forms its committees, sets their tasks and specifies the number of their members. The composition of committees should be a proportionate reflection of the parliamentary groups represented in the Saeima. An exception is made for the Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee shall consist of two members elected from each parliamentary groupand and the National Security Committee have one representative from each parliamentary group.
The Saeima has standing committees as set forth by the Rules of Procedure. These committees work in a specific field or carry out other tasks; for example, they consider interpellations by MPs, verify whether public expenditures are justified, decide whether the Code of Ethics has been violated, or coordinate Latvia’s national positions on European Union issues.
Committees prepare matters to be considered at plenary sittings. Upon the decision of the Saeima, committees consider draft laws, proposals and submissions. Agendas of the committee meetings are available in Latvian.
Another field of activity of committees is parliamentary scrutiny of the executive branch. For this purpose, committees consider topical issues of public interest and the need for improvements in the work of ministries, public institutions or local government bodies. Each committee meets regularly with ministers or representatives of relevant institutions in order to deal with issues that fall within its competence. Committees also carry out parliamentary scrutiny of the work of the government by providing recommendations for streamlining the work of the executive branch.
Committees have the right, without the Presidium's mediation, to directly request information and explanations necessary for their work from a relevant minister and the institutions subordinated to or supervised by him/her, and from local governments, as well as to summon the relevant officials to provide the required comments.
In order to decide on supporting draft laws or conduct parliamentary scrutiny, members of committees take into account the reasoning of relevant ministries and opinions of experts in the relevant field, social partners, and NGOs. In committee meetings, various interests, different political views, and diverse opinions on the most appropriate solution to a specific problem are expressed.
Each committee elects from its members a chairperson and a secretary, and, if necessary, a deputy chairperson.
An MP may be a member of not more than two standing committees and two subcommittees at a time. An MP may be the chairperson of only one standing committee at a time.
Committee meetings are open to the public; however, committees may take a decision to hold a closed meeting.
Committee meetings have a quorum if at least half of the committee members are present.
Minutes are taken at committee meetings. The minutes include the agenda items discussed, the decisions adopted, and the results of the voting. Committee members have the right to attach their own opinion to the minutes not later than at the next meeting.
Upon the decision of the Saeima, committees consider draft laws, proposals and submissions or submit such documents, provided they pertain to the objectives of relevant committees.
Before every reading, the responsible committee considers the proposed draft laws.
A committee decision is regarded as adopted if a majority of the committee members present have voted in favour of it.
Committees may convene joint meetings.
Ad hoc committees
The Saeima may form ad hoc committees to undertake specific legislative assignments. In specific cases, the Saeima appoints a parliamentary investigative committee if at least one-third of MPs request it. For example, the 9th Saeima formed the Parliamentary Committee for Investigating Possible Illegal and Unethical Conduct of the Judiciary.
To fulfil specific tasks or to perform preparatory work, a committee may create subcommittees. A subcommittee can consist of MPs who do not belong to the relevant standing committee.
A subcommittee submits its proposals and decisions at the committee meeting.