Your Voice Matters at the Connecticut General Assembly
A Guide for Testifying at Public Hearings and Reaching State Legislators
You read an article about a proposed bill at the State Capitol and that an upcoming public hearing has been scheduled, but you donâ€™t know how to get involved. Testifying at a public hearing is an effective way of getting your point across. Committees are holding hybrid public hearings during the 2023 legislative session to receive testimony from the public. This means people have the option to testify in-person in a hearing room or through a virtual meeting platform called Zoom. The information below will help guide you on how to participate and submit your testimony at a hybrid public hearing.
Hybrid Public Hearings
Registering for a Hybrid Public Hearing
To participate in a hybrid public hearing, you'll need to pre-register. Please read the Bulletin instructions carefully and submit the required information. Make sure your name and contact information is correct because if the committee clerk cannot positively identify you in the hearing, you will be excluded from testifying.
If you are participating via Zoom, please follow the instructions provided by the committee clerk to join the meeting.
Offering Verbal Testimony at a Hybrid Public Hearing
During hybrid public hearings, there are three ways you can offer verbal testimony.
- By Zoom - hybrid public hearings are conducted, in part, via Zoom. Committees will require you to pre-register by a deadline to testify via Zoom. Please read the Bulletin and Public Hearing Agenda carefully for registration instructions.
- In Person - hybrid public hearings are also conducted in-person in a hearing room at the Legislative Office Building. Committees will require you to pre-register by a deadline to testify in-person. Please read the Bulletin and Public Hearing Agenda carefully for registration instructions.
- By Phone - if you do not have internet access, you are allowed to testify by phone. Follow the instructions in the Bulletin to register via phone. You will receive special instructions on how to use the dial-in feature in Zoom.
Submitting Written Testimony for a Hybrid Public Hearing
Use the Calendar, Bulletins and Public Hearing Agenda to find out how to submit testimony in writing before the start of the public hearing. Specific instructions will be provided on how to submit written testimony online through the committee website. Some committees may also accept written testimony via postal mail.
It helps to know the number of the bill in which you're interested. To find out, call the Legislative Information Room at (860) 240-0555, or call one of the toll-free numbers listed below and ask to be transferred to the Legislative Information Room.
The Connecticut General Assembly's website (www.cga.ct.gov) will allow you to retrieve the status information on the bill in which you are interested, including current text, up-to-date actions on the bill, the introducer, a statement of purpose and co-sponsors.
Plan your remarks so your viewpoint and reasoning will be clear. It may help you to write them out completely.
Your Turn To Speak
When you are called, you may begin with "Madam Chair/Mr. Chairman" (as appropriate) "and members of the committee." Introduce yourself very distinctly so it is clear for the record. Mention your name, town of residence, and the number and title of the bill on which you'll be speaking.
Start your testimony by indicating whether you support the bill, oppose it, or are offering suggestions to improve it, and then explain your reasoning. Follow this procedure for each bill you discuss.
Keep your remarks clear and concise. Be sure not to exceed any announced time limits. If other speakers have already made your point, you can say that you agree with, or want to associate yourself with, the remarks of one or more previous speakers. Your views and your name will then be clearly on record.
When you finish, remain attentive for a moment in case committee members want to ask questions. If you are participating in the public hearing via Zoom, you will be dismissed by the committee clerk or co-chair and removed from the hearing. You may continue to watch on CT-N or YouTube Live.
Watching A Hybrid Public Hearing
Use the Calendar to find events that you are interested in viewing.
Simply click the "event" on the calendar page to access the viewable link.
Click the link to view the public hearing. In most cases, the link will take you to a public YouTube Channel for that committee. Each committee has their own YouTube Channel. You can find the list of available channels here.
Want to know what happens after the public hearing is over or are you interested in a policy topic or specific bill before the General Assembly? You can sign up for the General Assembly's free tracking service to follow bills through the entire legislative process. The bill tracking system will link you to testimony, vote tally sheets, and more. Register today!
To Contact Your Legislator
Your elected state legislators want to know what you think of proposed legislation before they vote on it. Besides testifying at a public hearing, you can also call or write letters to express your views. The General Assembly maintains several toll-free numbers through which you may be transferred to a legislator or to the Legislative Information Room.
To reach a committee office, obtain the number from the League of Women Voters Capitol Information Service (860-240-0222) or ask to be transferred from a toll-free number. If you use a TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf), you can call these numbers:
The senator or representative can also be contacted via email from the appropriate caucus website:
To Follow a Bill
Bill status information is also available on the General Assembly's website (www.cga.ct.gov).