There are two ways to provide testimony –
- Driving to Annapolis and giving testimony in person
- Sending in testimony electronically to the sponsor of the bill
In-person testimony is most effective, but only if –
- You have a story or a personal reason to support the bill
- You have something to say that no one else has said
- The bill is not a really contested bill, in which case, there will be a ton of people testifying in person and you may not get to say very much
Testifying in person is the most effective for smaller bills that don’t get a lot of attention. If you are interested in a bill, contact the bill’s sponsor, even if you are not in-district and offer to testify.
If you are driving to Annapolis, you can reserve parking in advance at the garage of your choice. You must pay for a whole day of parking to do that, but at least you won’t have to move your car every two hours.
To reserve parking, click on the following link:
Then, click on Parking Locations on the menu.
This will give you a menu item for Garages and Lots and then a list of individual garages. Select the garage you want to park in. The closest one to the House or Senate is Gotts Court Garage.
Scroll down the page for the garage you selected until you see the Buy Daily Parking button.
When you click the button, you can select the date, select the garage again (assuming it is not already full and you have to pick another one), and then pay for parking. You will have to pay for the entire day.
You will then get a confirmation with a code. Put the code under the reader at the garage to enter and leave.
To submit testimony electronically:
If you are submitting to the sponsor, just email it the day before the hearing. If, however, you are submitting testimony for the hearing (on the day of the hearing), this is the new procedure:
These procedures govern the submission of written testimony to all subject-matter committees in the Senate and House. The procedures are identical for all committees, with a few small variations indicated below. (The procedures for Senate Rules, Senate Executive Nominations, and House Rules and Executive Nominations may differ; check with that committee.)
- Written testimony is accepted only on the hearing day. Written testimony may not be submitted before then, unless you are just sending it to the bill sponsor.
- Written testimony – for all hearings other than budget hearings in Budget and Tax and Appropriations – must be submitted in person at the committee office, by: 1) uploading it to a committee computer from a flash drive (testimony may not be emailed to the committee members); and 2) bringing a written copy of the testimony (all committees require just one copy, except Education, Heath and Environmental Afairs which requires three copies). Written testimony for budget hearings in Budget and Tax and Appropriations may still involve submitting multiple written copies – check with the committees.
- Before arriving at the committee office: save testimony in PDF format to a flash drive, and make a written copy for the committee, or three for Education, Health and Environmental Affairs. Note: preferably use a flash drive with nothing else on it to facilitate the virus-check (see below). Note: you may want to name the document using the following title bill# – organization – position on the bill – your name, although that is apparently not required.
- When to submit: 9 am to noon for all committees other than Budget and Tax and Appropriations; at least one hour before hearings for Budget and Tax and Appropriations. Note: this process may result in lines so it is better to arrive early, and avoid arriving after 11:30.
- At the committee office – step 1: sign up on the electronic witness sign-up screen outside the committee room; an email address is required. (This sign-up is now required for written-only testimony, in addition to oral or oral/written testimony.)
- At the committee office – step 2: in the committee room or office, give your flash drive to staff who will scan it for viruses; once it passes, you will be directed to another computer where you will follow prompts to upload your testimony (the upload will use the email address you entered on the electronic sign-up screen). Note: if your flash drive fails the virus check, committee staff will scan your hard copy to upload the testimony to the computer system.
As in prior sessions, the first page of all written testimony must recite the bill number and bill name, the name of the individual or organization submitting the testimony, and the position on the bill (Support, Support with Amendments, or Opposed).