Hawaii Film Blog

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Leg. '06: Public Testimonies Have Clout

So it turns out I was right (as usual): public testimonies do have clout! A story by Treena Shapiro in Sunday's Honolulu Advertiser backs me up:

In a political arena where some of the biggest stakeholders hire professional lobbyists to advance their positions, the average person, especially one with a full-time job, might be overwhelmed at the thought of competing for lawmakers' attention.

It is worth the effort, legislators say.

Whether it's testifying at a public hearing, visiting a lawmaker's office or simply attending a rally, the very fact that a person has taken the time to express his or her views speaks volumes.

When large numbers turn out, "it makes a visible point," said Sen. Clayton Hee, D-23rd (Kane'ohe, Kahuku).

During last year's legislative session, for example, about 70 farmers from Waiahole turned up at a public hearing and chose a few among themselves to give targeted testimonies against a measure they felt would endanger their community. Testimonies like these put a human face on legislative issues.

There is, however, a downside to public oral testimonies: there may be so many for legislators to hear that they don't have enough time to vote on a bill by the deadline. It is therefore very important to submit written testimonies a few days before a hearing to allow more time for legislators to review them.

If you're still confused about how to submit written testimony or testify at a public hearing, then you haven't been reading this blog very carefully! But seriously, you can go to the Public Access Room (Rm. 401) on the fourth floor of the State Capitol, where you will find helpful workshops and assistance every day.

Success stories show public testimony's clout [Hnl Advertiser, 1/22/06]

So That's How Bills Get Passed!
>> Brush Up Your Legislature!
How to Submit Testimony
"Widespread Support"

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