Testifying. The order of bills to be heard is posted outside the door of each committee that is meeting.
The chair will announce each bill, after which the bill's sponsor will address the committee. The chair may then ask for testimony from proponents and opponents. Hearings are conducted using formal parliamentary procedure. You may find the following recommendations to be helpful.
Begin your presentation by stating, "Mr. or Madam Chair ___, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to present to you today. My name is ____, representing ___, and I am here to support/oppose this bill because . . ."
Do not read your testimony word for word.
Be brief and avoid repeating what other witnesses have said. Try to focus on points that have not been mentioned.
At the end of your testimony, thank the committee members and offer to answer any questions.
If a member asks a question, wait for the chair to prompt you, then state your name followed by,
"Chair ___, Senator/Representative ____, the answer to your question is . . ." If you do not know the answer, it is always okay to say that you do not know. If you promise to follow-up, be sure to do so in a timely manner.
Do not be offended if committee members come and go during a hearing. They have other commitments, including the presentation of bills in other committees that are meeting simultaneously.
At a hearing with a large number of witnesses, there may not be time for everyone to testify.
Cell phones and other electronic devices should be on a silent setting.
Food and beverages are prohibited in the committee rooms.
The chair has the discretion and authority to limit testimony, ask the sergeant-at-arms to remove a disruptive person from the committee, and clear the public from any hearing in the event of a disturbance that is disruptive to legislative proceedings.