Your voice makes a difference. Testifying is a great way to voice your concerns on an issue or a certain bill. It is important for legislators to know your opinion before they vote on a bill. For information about when you can submit testimony see “Getting a Law Made.” For tips on how to be notified when a bill will be heard see “How to Track a Bill.”
Tips On Written Testimony
Remember to put your name, the bill # and title of the bill you are testifying on at the top of the page(s). In your first sentence, say if you are in support or in opposition to the bill. Then explain why. Please feel free to contact the office of the chair of the committee to follow up and make sure they received your testimony. You can get the names of all committee chairs and their contact info at “Contacting Legislators.”
Tips For Oral Testimony At A Public Hearing
You are welcome, and encouraged, to come to the Capitol and testify in person at the committee hearing to make your voice even more powerful. You are encouraged to send in your written testimony online before you come to speak. Try to arrive at least 5 minutes before the public hearing to check-in with the committee staff and sign up to testify. If you’re unable to submit written testimony before the hearing ask the committee staff before the hearing starts to add your name to the testimony list.
Once your name is called to testify, remember to state your name to the committee and thank the Committee Chair for the opportunity to speak. Try to not read your written testimony, rather speak to the committee members. If you are asked to summarize your testimony, try to abide by with the committees request, or just simply state your position on the bill. Try to be as specific and to the point as possible, you should also be prepared to answer questions. If you do not know the answer to a question, just say so, you can always get the information to the committee after the hearing.
Each committee hearing may have multiple bills on the agenda. There is not a time limit or a limit on how many people may testify on each measure, so it may take some time for your bill to be heard.
Be Passionate, Be Respectful And Be Heard
It is understandable that you have very strong feelings about the bill topics you’ll be testifying on. However, while you can be passionate, the committee members will appreciate it if you are polite and respectful. Depending on the committee, testimonies may also be posted to the Hawaii State Legislature’s website before the hearing date, so the committee members may not be the only ones reading what you submit. You may also contact the committee chair and any of the legislators or send a letter to raise your concerns about the bill either as an individual or on behalf of your group or organization. The Committee Chair, for the most part, decides which bills will be given a hearing. You may also want to consider communicating your concerns to each of the individual members of each committee.
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