One way to actively advocate is to provide testimony at a legislative hearing to gather public input on a legislative issue. Work with Farm Bureau to coordinate on a testimony and messaging.
Public hearings are usually held in the afternoon during the first half of a legislative session. Different committees may have scheduled rooms and meeting dates where they may observe multiple bills in an afternoon. Each bill is presented by the bill’s sponsor. The chairperson will then ask for a proponent testimony, then an opponent testimony and then a neutral testimony.
- Bill amendments.
The bill’s sponsor may offer amendments that may change your opinion on the bill itself, so be aware of possible changes.
- Prepare yourself to answer questions.
The committee members may ask you questions, so be ready to provide answers. Note that as a testifier, you cannot ask the committee questions.
- Give out written copies.
Provide enough copies of your testimony for the committee and the staff to give an accurate record.
- Limit your testimony.
It is important to be brief, concise and factual.
- Be courteous.
Do not address committee members or testifiers from the audience, and do not applaud or give other forms of public demonstration. Be sure to silence cell phones.
- Don’t take offense.
Sometimes legislators may have to leave during testimony to tend to other obligations.
- Ask for help.
Farm Bureau is here to help members prepare for testimony that aligns with Farm Bureau’s policy.