At the beginning of each legislative period, technical committees are formed to deal with the many specialised issues that arise during the work of the State Parliament of Hesse. The particular fields to be dealt with depend on the needs of the ministries of the State Government since their representatives have to give explanations and answers.
Most meetings are not public so that that the members can work freely and without interruptions and without any pressure from outside. The topics referred to these committees by parliament are dealt with thoroughly and a proposal is prepared for the final decision which is made in a plenary session. Where necessary, the committees may set up additional working groups for specific issues, call in experts, hold public hearings or travel to a location in order to look at local solutions.
Inquiry committees are among the strictest means of control available to parliament in order to investigate government and serve the purpose of examining events in the political and administrative sector that may be perceived as abuses, affairs or scandals. They are an important instrument in political debate for the opposition in particular, since parliament is obliged to set up inquiry committees if one fifth of the statutory number of members of the parliament demand it, i.e. at the moment at least 22 members of parliament.
The rights of the inquiry committees include collecting evidence in public hearings; courts and administrative authorities must comply with requests for information and the collection of evidence. The provisions of criminal procedural law apply here accordingly. However, the inquiry committees are not courts, but merely serve to establish the truth behind the facts in question.