Testifying Before a Committee

Committees are tasked with studying bills more in-depth and reporting back to the full legislative body with a recommendation. The public hearing is your opportunity to have direct input on the future of a bill by providing testimony.

Preparation
  • Write your personalized advocacy message in the form of a letter.
  • Address it to “Honorable Chair and Members of the Committee”
  • Sign with your full name, your town, and your contact information.
  • Bring printed copies to the hearing to hand in for the committee members. (25 copies for the House, 7 for the Senate)
  • Create a bulleted list of talking points to help you stay on track while you speak. You should not just read from your testimony.
  • Hearing times vary widely. Anticipate the hearing may run late.
Arriving to a Hearing
  • Dress in clean, nice clothes. Jeans are not recommended.
  • Arrive early, and plan extra time for parking.
  • Know the bill number and hearing room number.
  • In the Senate: There will be a white sign-in sheet where you will write your name, whether you support or oppose the bill, and whether you wish to speak.
  • In the House: There will be a blue sign-in sheet that you only fill out if you are not speaking. If you would like to speak, fill out a pink card and pass the card to the clerk or chair of the committee.
Testifying
  • We recommend keeping testimony under 3-5 minutes to remain effective and hold the committees attention.
  • Recognize the chairperson and members of the committee.
  • State your name and where you are from.
  • State your position on the bill.
  • Share your personalized advocacy message.
  • Thank the committee members for their time.
  • You have the option to accept or decline questions from the committee at the end of your testimony. If you do not know an answer, offer to follow up with an email. You can email all members of the committee through the GenCourt website.