Testify to the Texas Legislature
The following are some practical pointers on testifying before committees of the Texas Legislature:
1. Park at the Capitol Visitors Garage on the NE corner of 12th and San Jacinto. First two hours are free.
2. Make sure you have the correct hearing room. It's a good idea to arrive early in case you have trouble finding it.
3. Make sure you have the bill number.
4. When you arrive sign up on the computer terminal, or fill in the one-page form and hand it to one of the clerks.
5. Witnesses are mostly taken in order of filing, unless they are a member or state official, so sign up early.
6. Sit near the front, where the members can get used to seeing you. Act professional and don't be distracting.
7. If you have a written statement or documentation, prepare one copy for each Committee Member, and one for the clerk. Hand them to the clerk as you step up to speak. Bring extra copies for reporters, or for potential allies.
8.Outline your 3-minute speech
*Try to show how it will cost nothing or even save money.
*Open with a summary of your position, make your arguments in a logical order, then close with a summary.
*Have lesser arguments ready in case they let you speak more than 3 minutes. Make the most of your time.
*Try to make points that have not been made by others.
* Anticipate possible questions and be prepared to answer
9. Be civil but authoritative, and try to provide information they might not heard already. The members are willing to be educated.
10. Make sure you know the names of your reps and of the committee members, so you can address them by name.
11.Open your testimony with the ritual "Mr./Madame chairman, members of the committee, thank you for hearing me today. My name is [...]. I am [any credentials, title or affiliation]. I am here to speak for/against [or comment on] [the bill]."
12. Everyone gets to speak, even if the hearing goes on into the wee hours.
13. There is a cafeteria in the Capitol where witnesses and others can hang out.