There are multiple ways you can influence the outcome of a bill in Maine’s Legislature.
The most powerful way to influence legislation is to testify before a legislative committee and speak about a bill. In 2023, after three years of Zoom-only testimony, Maine's legislature is allowing both Zoom and in-person testimony at public hearings before committees. Our Legislative Alerts (sign up here) will provide the date, time, and place when committees are hearing the highest priority bills that affect Maine’s lakes. They will also provide sample letters and key points supporting/opposing bills. To see a list of priority bills as they roll out in the legislature, click here.
You can also submit written testimony to the committee easily and quickly. You’ll need to know the committee where the bill is being heard, as well as the date and time of the scheduled hearing. You can upload a document or type your testimony in directly. Testimony does not have to be lengthy or overly detailed. For tips on writing testimony, click here.
To either speak at the hearing or submit written testimony: Visit www.legislature.maine.gov, and click on the “Testimony Submission” button (bottom, right). At the next screen select the committee where the bill originates, then the date of the hearing. Finally, check the box for the bill you are addressing. Then:
• To submit written testimony, upload your written testimony (Word or PDF file). You can also type text directly into the submission box. Below that, add your full name, town or organization in Maine (either full-time or part-time/seasonal residence), email and phone.
• To speak at the public hearing, fill out the contact information as above but also click the box that says “I would like to testify electronically over Zoom”. You’ll then see an added box to indicate if you support, oppose or are neutral on the bill. Although written testimony is not required, feel free to upload testimony at this time if you’d like the committee to have a written record of your comments. Please note, you must upload your written comments AFTER you have selected the Zoon checkbox. If you upload before checking this box, your file will be deleted.
To speak in-person, go to the hearing room 10-15 minutes before the public hearing begins. You do not need to preregister but you can upload written material via the portal mentioned above. If you have handouts for committee members, please bring 20 copies with you. There may be a sign up sheet if the room is crowded. Please not for either Zoom or in-person testimony you often are limited to three minutes.
While testifying can seem overwhelming, we can assure you that legislators are friendly and the atmosphere in the committee rooms is congenial and welcoming. Legislators listen to a lot of lobbyists, but they really like to hear from “regular” people who are passionate about a bill.
Any questions? Email Susan Gallo at firstname.lastname@example.org FMI.
Another way to influence a bill is to call your legislator, or meet with them face-to-face. After a committee has voted to move a bill forward, you can then also contact your individual senators and representatives to urge them to support the bill when it comes to a floor vote.
HOW TO FIND YOUR LEGISLATor:
- Map of Maine’s 151 House Districts (COMING SOON)
- House: 1-800-423-2900
- Senate: 1-800-423-6900