During this session, legislators will review over 2,100 bills. A large percentage of those will be heard in committee.
Many of you have asked me about the best way to submit testimony on a proposed bill. Written testimony is always preferred. You can submit testimony via the online form on the capitol Website (www.capitol.hawaii.gov), or you can draft your written testimony and email the testimony to the chair and committee members as an attachment. Testimony may also be faxed.
Sending your testimony to all of the committee members is very important. Written testimony that is only sent to the chair is distributed to committee members at the beginning of the hearing, which means committee members must speed-read your testimony in the hearing. This can be problematic, especially for controversial bills in which a lot of testimony is submitted.
South Maui Rep. George Fontaine listens to testimony by Duane “Dog” Chapman and his wife, Beth, in a Judiciary Committee meeting. Photo: Marlo Ting
Your written testimony should be brief and to the point. State in the beginning your stand--oppose or support. Then outline why you oppose or support the bill. Bold face each issue or the text you really want the committee to pay attention to.
If you decide to testify in person, keep in mind that some chairs have time limits on oral testimony. The time limit can be anywhere from two to three minutes. Note that simply reading your written testimony is not as effective as summarizing it to highlight specific issues.
I hope these tips help, and my office is always available to assist you with submitting testimony should you need it.
Your voice does matter.
If you need to contact me with any issues or concerns regarding South Maui, please call my office at (808) 586-8525 or email email@example.com.
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