Committees receive the bills, then set up dates for public hearings. This is the time for everyone to offer their opinion on the legislation through testimony. It's an important step in the process. Anyone can testify as: supporting, against, or neither for nor against. The League testifies on hundreds of bills given any year. We also help our volunteers submit testimony. If there's an excellent bill, maybe one we wrote, we want as many citizens as possible voicing their support.
Where to watch a public hearing
Business at the State House is now back to in-person procedures. Hybrid public hearings (hosted through zoom and in-person) may be available depending upon the committee. Livestreams can usually be found on each committee's YouTube channel or at legislature.maine.gov.
If you choose to submit testimony and wish to deliver it in person, you'll need to visit the State House in Augusta. You can park at the State Office Building Parking Garage (located at 93 Sewall St). Parking is free and open to the public. You can use this link to find the rooms in which the public hearings will take place. Just select the committee that you're looking for.
There are 18 committees, and they cover important topics like energy, environment, housing, labor, and so on. Most of our bills, if not all of them, appear before the State and Local Government (SLG) and Veterans and Legal Affairs (VLA) committees. See the SLG livestreams and the VLA livestreams for more content.
You can choose to 1.) submit written testimony and/or 2.) deliver your testimony in-person or over zoom, if the virtual option is available.
If you're ready to submit testimony, use this link to get started: www.mainelegislature.org/testimony. You can also send an email to the Committee Clerk. The League's priority bills usually appear before the State and Local Government (SLG@legislature.maine.gov) and Veterans and Legal Affairs (VLA@legislature.maine.gov) committees.
*Testimony must be submitted at least 30 minutes before the start of the hearing.
In your testimony, make sure that you provide:
- Your name
- Your town of residence (or the organization you represent)
- The date of the public hearing
- The LD number & title for which you want to provide testimony
- Whether you will: 1) testify for, 2) testify against, or 3) testify neither for nor against the bill
The Committee Clerk will make sure you receive the Zoom link to participate in the hearing.
Samples of testimonies:
Your testimony doesn't have to be a long novel or academic in diction and tone. It's better to speak clearly about why you think the bill is good, bad, or in-between, and use your personal experience if applicable. Don't be afraid to admit when you don't know something — you can always follow up with legislators afterwards. Here are some examples of League testimony from the previous session (2021-22):
- LD 100 — Establishing Election Day as a Holiday: Testified neither for nor against.
- LD 231 — Semi-open Primaries: Testified in support.
- LD 557 — Photo ID Required When Voting: Testified against.
- LD 1779 — Protecting Election Integrity: Testified in support
Need more help?
If it's your first time submitting testimony, if you need additional assistance, or if you want to learn how to help on a particular bill, we're here to help! Email Will Hayward at firstname.lastname@example.org.