Contact Your Representatives
Find the contact information for your legislators here: http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/townlist.htm. Many of the legislators list e-mail addresses, but brief telephone calls or messages can be more effective than e-mail messages.
What should I do in advance of the hearing?
Try to let your Senator or Representative know ahead of time that you intend to testify – that way, he or she can try to meet you there. Make sure to send a copy of your testimony to both your Representative and your Senator. Prepare written copies of your testimony. Bring 20 copies with you for distribution to the committee.
What can I do if I cannot attend in person?
Make sure others know about the hearing and submit written testimony in opposition to the bill before the hearing starts. Email your written testimony to the the clerk of the appropriate committee. Clerk committee contacts can be found here.
What happens when the hearing begins?
Once the committee chairs call the public hearing to order, they will ask the sponsor or sponsors of the bill to present it to the committee, and the members will have a chance to ask them questions. After that, other public officials and agency representatives can offer their views and then the public is invited to speak.
What do I do at the hearing exactly? Bring 20 copies of your written testimony.
Approach the podium, sign in on the sheet provided and courteously address the Chairs of the committee and the committee members. Then tell the committee your name and the community where you live. It will probably sound like this: “Senator Blank, Representative Blank, members of the committee, I am Joe Smith from Anytown Maine, and I am here to oppose LD ***.” Then read your testimony. You will have only 2 or 3 mins to read testimony, so a page typed single-spaced is a good rule of thumb.
What should I remember when I speak to the committee?
Effective testimony has several key ingredients:
- Be accurate. Facts and other evidence are always convincing.
- Keep your testimony short and to the point and try not to repeat what other speakers have said.
- Stay calm. Don’t rush, and don’t be afraid to stop and think for a moment if you feel nervous.
- Be polite and respectful – even if someone speaks against your position.
- Thank the committee for its attention and wait to see if they have questions for you.
- Answer any questions briefly and accurately; if you don’t know an answer, just say so.
What happens after I testify?
If you have time during a recess or after the hearing, talk personally with committee members. Even if they don’t seem to agree with your position, they will appreciate your interest. Sometimes citizens follow up their testimony with a letter to the committee thanking them for their time and attention and answering any additional questions. You can stay and watch the rest of the proceedings, or you can leave the committee room after you testify. The committee will schedule a work session on the bill, and during that time they will debate the issues, offer amendments if necessary, and finally vote on the bill and send it to the House or Senate for action.
Directions and Parking Info: https://legislature.maine.gov/lio/directions-to-the-state-house/9081
The State House is located on the corners of Capitol and State Streets in Augusta.
To get to the State House from I-95 get off at exit 109 and travel east on route 202 (Western Avenue). Continue to the first rotary where you take the first possible right turn onto State Street. Proceed to the traffic light where you will see the State House in front of you on the right. Turn right at the light onto Capitol Street for access to parking behind the Cross Office Building or in the Sewall Street garage. Parking may also be available south of the State House, behind the State Library, Archives and Museum building.