Politics: Testifying on Bills in Annapolis


Location of Hearings Use this link to search for the bill on which you wish to testify.  It will list in which committee the bill is being heard and when. Note whether it is cross-filed, because each chamber will have a separate hearing.  Also note the primary sponsor.

Use this link to find the committee information for the bill on which you are testifying.

The Senate’s standing committee rooms are in the Miller Senate Building at 11 Bladen Street. House standing committee rooms are in the House Office Building at 6 Bladen Street.  This map shows all the government building locations in Annapolis.

Parking in Annapolis This website will help you decide where you might like to park.  You can see on this link the locations of these garages and their relationship to the State House.

You may also park at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the Public Parking lot entrance, Gate #5, Taylor Avenue. The Trolley Shuttle runs to Annapolis Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 20-minute intervals. Saturday and Sunday service is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is no service on State holidays unless the General Assembly is in session. Trolley service costs $2.00.

Parking on the street in restricted residential zones as well as at metered spaces is subject to frequent patrol.

Entrance into State Government Buildings To enter into any State Government Building, it is necessary that you have on hand a picture identification card. You will be asked to walk through a detector and any items that you are carrying will be screened. So leave your guns, knives and other weapons at home.

Signing-Up to Testify

The sign-up sheet is typically placed outside the hearing room at 9 a.m. Please see the chart here for cut-off times for signing up by committee on the day you are testifying and other information. (The earlier you sign-up, the earlier you will be called up to testify, although the committee chairman chooses the order of bills to be heard that day.) You will need to provide your name, address, email address, and telephone number and will be asked to indicate if your testimony for the bill is Favorable, Unfavorable or Favorable With Amendments. You may also need to indicate if you intend to verbally testify or if you wish to hand in your testimony.  If you are giving verbal testimony you should also submit written testimony as well or it will not go into the public record.

Submitting Written Testimony Please be sure that on the top of your written testimony it indicates the bill number clearly in the upper right-hand corner (i.e. HB-000) and indicate below that if your position is Favorable, Unfavorable or Favorable With Amendments.  Include your name and address on the written testimony.  You will need to have the appropriate number of copies for the committee per the chart hereIf you are testifying in favor of a bill, often the bill sponsor will assist you in signing up to testify and in submitting your written testimony.  Contact the bill sponsor and find out the procedure.  Try to submit your written testimony by email to the bill sponsor no later than 9am on the day of the hearing.

Helpful Hints  Arrive early. Getting to a hearing early will give you the chance to sign the witness sheet and become comfortable with the surroundings.

Introduce yourself. When speaking to a committee, clearly identify yourself and the organization you represent, if any. Then clearly state your position on the bill.

Don’t be intimidated. The General Assembly is a citizen legislature. Legislators want to hear what constituents have to say. State your case clearly and in simple terms as you would to anyone. There are no “rights or wrongs” in testifying, but please be respectful.

Be brief. Make your points as concisely as possible, be prepared to limit your testimony if necessary, and try not to repeat testimony offered by previous witnesses. Provide specific information about your position. For example, legislators may want to know what has been done in other states, what the cost might be, and what groups support or oppose your position.

Be prepared to answer questions. The best way to make your case is to provide straightforward answers to legislators’ questions. If you don’t know the answer, say so. Then, if possible, find the answer and relay it later.   Generally, refrain from asking questions of committee members since public hearings are directed toward providing them with information on the legislation under consideration.




Maryland Seal & Flag Sphere

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.