In the traditional sense, reference committees are groups of at least four delegates and alternates selected to conduct open hearings on PAMED’s business matters during the annual meeting. Usually held the Saturday afternoon of the meeting, they meet in separate hearing rooms, and each of the five reference committees is assigned a set of general topics. Members can speak to the issues being considered by approaching open microphones as instructed by the committee chair and traditional protocol.
Prior to that Saturday of the meeting, the Speakers for the House of Delegates assign resolutions, reports, and other matters by topic to the appropriate reference committees.
Reference committee hearings are traditionally open to all PAMED members and guests, and the press. Non-members can speak only with permission of the reference committee chair.
Following its open hearings, each reference committee goes into executive session to deliberate and write its report. Reference committee reports then become the basis of much of the business of the House, usually the next morning.
Reference committees have wide latitude in their efforts to facilitate express of the will of the delegates. They may amend and consolidate resolutions, and recommend to the House that they adopt, reject, amend, or refer each resolution.