TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE LETTERs:

Identify yourself as a constituent.

Include your name, address, phone number and e-mail address.

Be specific about the reason for writing.

Identify the specific bill you are writing about and your position (support or oppose).

Be focused.

Address one issue per letter, and if possible, keep the letter to one page. Data, research, or graphics can be helpful as long as they are directly relevant to your position.

Be personal.

Explain how the legislation you’re writing about affects you, your family, your friends, your business or community.

Don’t exaggerate.

Do not make arguments that cannot be substantiated or you will lose your credibility.

Be clear.

Let the legislator know what action you’d like them to take. If you want them to support a specific bill, say so. If you want them to vote against a certain bill, make that clear. If you’d like your legislator to follow-up with you, let them know.

Hand write your note.

Sending hand-written notes or typed letters is generally more effective than sending an email.

logistics

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 document (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 present my testimony live”. 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 AFTER you have selected the live testimony box. If you upload before checking this box, your file will be deleted.

After you send your request to join the meeting, you’ll receive an invitation to a Zoom meeting (Public Hearing) and you will be asked to click a link to register. After you have registered, you will receive another email with a link to join the meeting. Wait until the day and time of the meeting to click the link to JOIN. If you have difficulty finding the invitation on the day of the meeting, don’t worry.  A reminder will be sent on the morning of the meeting with the link attached. 

When you click the link to join the meeting, you will be in a WAITING ROOM. You will be able to see and hear the committee members but you will not be seen or heard.  The host will be watching who is in attendance in the waiting room (we will know you are here even though you cannot be seen or heard at this time).

The Chairs have a list of all who are scheduled to testify.  They will indicate to the Clerk to admit the next in line to testify (2 or 3 at a time will be brought into the meeting). During the transition from the waiting room to the meeting, you will see a box with a blue spooling circle and a message saying “Joining”. BE PATIENT!  This may take 5-7 seconds. When you can see the participants again, you will be in the meeting and will be able to see yourself on screen. Please remain muted until you are called on to speak.  After you have given your testimony and answered any questions the committee may have, you will be returned to the waiting room.  Expect the same 5-7 second delay on your return.  When you can see the participants again, you are back in the waiting room.  You can remain there for the rest of the hearing or leave by clicking the red END button in the lower right hand corner of the screen. 

You should also submit your spoken testimony in writing here.

Persons with special needs wishing to participate in a Legislative hearing who require accommodations should notify the Legislative Information Office as soon as possible: 207-287-1692, FAX 207-287-1580, lio@legislature.maine.gov. 

Committee meetings may be heard at www.mainelegislature.org or viewed at www.youtube.com/mainestatelegislature.

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