Share Your Passion with Your Lawmaker

What should I know about testifying at committee hearings?

A major share of legislative action occurs in committee. One should be aware that many decisions are made prior to committee meetings through discussion with you and your representative. Many times committees are used primarily to amend or kill a bill.

When Testifying:

  • Arrive early and sign in. Early testimony is effective. Often legislators designate a specific amount of time for testimony. If it is a controversial bill, many people may sign up to testify, but not everyone will be allowed to speak.
  • Have written copies of your testimony or position. This will provide an opportunity for the committee members to review your position after the meeting or use your information during debate prior to a vote.
  • Identify who you are and the organization that you represent. Be sure you have been given the authority to speak on behalf of your organization.
  • If you are testifying as an individual, point this out. State your position early in your testimony. Be clear and concise. Talk from your heart and provide real world examples to make your point. Don’t be redundant.
  • If facts are given, indicate source.
  • Indicate your agreement or disagreement with previous speakers and state why.
  • If you are in conflict with other witnesses or committee members, always remember there are different views on every issue.
  • Always maintain your composure before a committee.
  • Talk directly to the committee. The members will vote on your position, not the audience.
  • When possible, always end on a positive note and thank the members for taking the time to hear your position.

Once a bill passes out of committee, it can still face numerous obsticles. It may never be placed on the agenda for a chamber floor debate and vote. It could be assigned to numerous committees and never make it to its final stop. It can get tied up in the Rules committee, pulled off the floor by a “point of order”, reassigned, amended to say the exact opposite of what you want, given an appropriations figure and die from lack of funds, etc. The list goes on and on. Following a bill can become a difficult and a time consuming process.


The FEA Public Policy Advocacy (PPA) staff tracks all education and education-related measures during session. You can easily track a bill by signing up for the FEA Frontline Report. You can also learn more about proposed bills, their history and the bill sponsors at the following websites: Florida House of Representatives  and The Florida Senate


Share Your Passion with Your Lawmaker

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