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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

How to Testify and Track Bills

Testimony provides individuals the opportunity to be heard by the legislators and potentially influence the outcome of decisions being made by a committee.  Here are the basics on submitting testimony:

  1. Go to the Legislative Website – capitol.hawaii.gov
  2. Sign in with your email and password (If you don’t have an account, click here to learn how to easily create a new account)
  3. Click the “Testimony” button on your Account Home Page
  4. Insert the Bill # in the box on the left
  5. On the bill screen, you can either write brief comments in the box provided or upload testimony from your hard drive

Testimony is only accepted once a measure has been scheduled for a hearing, meaning you must remain maka’ala or aware of measures you are passionate about as the turnaround time between when a hearing is scheduled to the hearing itself is very short.  The state legislature usually requests that written testimony be submitted at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. Here are a couple of ways to track bills and receive hearing notifications:

  • JOIN OHA’S LISTSERVE & RECEIVE ACTION ALERTS – During the Legislative Session, OHA sends out alerts for upcoming hearings on bills that may be of key interest for our lāhui. Click here to sign up to receive notices.
  • REGISTER TO TRACK BILLS WITH THE LEGISLATIVE WEBSITE – Once you registered for an account, it is very simple to track bills on the Legislative website.
    • You can elect to receive email notifications of hearing notices for specific bills that interest you by inputting the bill number into the box on the left

  • Or you can choose to receive the hearing notices for whatever committees you wish to follow
  • Registering with the Legislature allows you to create personalized lists of bills to track and receive immediate notifications of key hearings that you’re interested in.

While there are no rules on what testimony needs to look like, here are some tips:

  • Include your name, the bill number and the bill title
  • Address the committee chair and members
  • Clearly state whether you SUPPORT or OPPOSE the bill
  • Introduce yourself and your organization (if applicable)
  • Summarize the reason for your position
    1. Include specific facts if you have them
    2. Tell a personal story on the bills impact
  • In your conclusion, be sure to restate your position
  • Thank the committee for the opportunity to testify
  • Keep it short and to the point

To learn about how to registering for an account, click here.

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