MEA Guide to Testimony

How to Have Your Voice Heard! – Testify Before the Legislature

The Legislature vets bills and proposed legislation and votes on recommendations to the House and Senate. We expect nearly 2000 bills will be debated this legislative session and many of these proposals will impact public education, public schools, our professions and our students.

The best way to make sure your voice is heard is to testify before Committee when key bills and legislation come before them. The best way to stay up-to-date on key bills is to sign up for the weekly Under the Dome newsletter from the MEA’s Government Relations Director, John Kosinski. Subscribe here: These weekly emails provide members with details about upcoming public hearings that may impact you and your students.

Testifying before a committee of the Legislature can be both fun and impactful, but also tiring. Public hearings can sometimes take hours, so please be patient – your voice matters. And while submitting written testimony is always good, live testimony is the most impactful.

This session, the Legislature is conducting all business in a hybrid format – individuals can appear in person in the relevant Committee room to share testimony, or you can testify via Zoom.

How to Provide Testimony on Legislation

In order to testify live, you have two options.

Option 1: Appear in person in the Committee when the public hearing is scheduled

The Committees of the Legislature provide advance notice of public hearings. Public hearings often start at 10am or 1pm, depending on the day. (The Under the Dome often lists the key hearings, the Committee where the hearing will take place, and the date/time of the hearing.)

To testify on a bill, just show up to the public hearing. If you have any questions, please reach out to us here. You do not need to sign up in advance. You can just show up.

Option 2: Sign up to testify via Zoom

In order to testify via Zoom, you will need to register at least 30 minutes prior to the hearing. You can register via this link: Online Testimony Submission (

You will have to find the public hearing by locating the Committee, the date of the public hearing.

Basics for Testifying
  • When testifying in person, the Committee asks you to bring 20 copies of your written testimony. (If you need help printing copies of your testimony, reach out to to us here.
  • The typical protocol for addressing the Committee includes recognizing the chairs of the Committee, the other members of the Committee, saying who you are and where you live/work, and whether you are there to support or oppose the legislation, or whether you are “neither for nor against” but have some information to share with the Committee.

For example, if testifying before the Education Committee, here is the typical protocol for both written and in-person testimony:

“Senator Rafferty, Representative Brennan and other esteemed members of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee,

My name is John Smith (he/him) and I live in Bangor and teach History at Bangor High School .

I am here to testify in support of LD ….. “

  • ALWAYS write up your testimony. If you are planning to testify live, you should write your testimony up before you deliver it. Too many times, individuals get nervous and miss key arguments they should have made. The best way to make sure your testimony is impactful is to write up your remarks beforehand. You can also submit your testimony using the same link to sign up to testify found here: Online Testimony Submission (
  • Be aware – in my cases, the Committees will cap testimony to three minutes. In some cases, the Chair will cut you off or ask you to summarize if you go over the 3 minutes. Again, written testimony helps make sure you make the points you want. Once you write your testimony, time yourself reading it and see if you can hit the key points within three minutes.
  • Be patient! Committees of the Legislature will often schedule more than one bill for a public hearing at a specific time. The public hearing for a bill you are interested in may be scheduled for 1pm, but there may be 3 or 4 or more bills scheduled for public hearing at that time. And public hearings sometimes take hours to complete. So, it is always good to have other work you can work on while other public hearings are happening.
  • Different Committees conduct business differently. For example, some committees invite any one in-person to testify first, then followed by those on Zoom. Oftentimes, the Committee wants to allow those in favor of the proposal to speak first, followed by those opposed, and then those who are “neither for nor against” but have information to share.
Video Testimony

The MEA knows the timing of public hearings often present a challenge to educators. You may be with students while a public hearing is happening and you may not be able to testify. In order to help the MEA encourages members to submit video testimony. Much like above, we encourage members to prepare formal testimony and then record yourself (using your cell phone or your computer) and upload the video here: (see the bottom of the page for video testimony submission) Once we get a copy of the video, we will forward it to legislators to make sure they see it.

For more information please see the Maine House of Representatives “Testifying at a Legislative Hearing” found here: Maine House of Representatives This site provides a wealth of information and resources about how to testify.

As always, please reach out to the MEA’s Government Relations Director, John Kosinski via this contact form if you have any questions.