Tips for Testifying

Prepare for the Hearing

  • Find out the bill number and download a copy from the legislative website.
  • Read the bill carefully. The language is specific to serve a purpose.
  • Determine which committee will be hearing the bill and find out who the members are.
  • Decide what you support or oppose about the bill.
  • Call or write members of the committee to let your views be known and that you will see them at the hearing.
    • Be friendly and respectful- legislators are happy to hear from constituents.
    • Introduce yourself- give your name and your town.
    • State your reason for contacting them:
    • “I am asking you to support or oppose this bill.”
    • Be sure to mention the bill number, sponsor and bill title
    • Briefly tell your story- how the bill will impact you.
    • Thank them for their time and attention, their support, or their vote.
  • Check the legislative calendar for date, time, and location of the hearing.
  • Be prepared to stay longer for shifts in the schedule.

Testimony

  • Type out your testimony and if possible, bring enough copies for each committee member.
  • Keep your presentation to five minutes or less. 2-3 minutes is even better.
  • Salutation should be to Committee Chair and Members of the Committee.
  • First sentence should introduce yourself and tell where you are from.
  • Second Sentence should state whether you support or oppose the bill.
  • Remainder of testimony should discuss why you want the committee to support or oppose the bill and the impact it will have on your family.
  • Committee members may ask questions, be honest. If you don’t know the answer, defer a response until you have the information they are looking for.
  • Bring a picture of your family to go along with your testimony. Children are welcome, however the wait to testify maybe long.
  • Follow up with members you contacted. This is important in helping to establish a relationship and strengthen future advocacy.

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