How to Testify on a Bill in Annapolis Maryland?
A video version of this article is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rei9NVlKtsA&t=323s
Kate Sullivan lead the discussion on how to testify in Annapolis. “We are an activist group and we need to be more like Democrats in this way, they are born to be activist. We need to be the same, when you go to Annapolis there are always 50-60 near and dear friends ready to testify for their favorite Democrat. We need to do the same. Education is power, let’s get ourselves educated on how to testify.”
We are one of the best states in terms of the process to sign up and testify. The very first step is to set yourself up with an account. Once you register, you are ready to testify on any bill. This account is referred to as myMGA, which will be the portal for all the bills you are following.
Let’s start with the basics, first you must register on the Maryland Legislature website. https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite
Go to “myMGA” in the upper right-hand corner, on the dropdown menu choose “Register”
On the registration page, add your first name, last name and password, these are the only required fields. At the bottom of the page click the red button, Register.
Tracking Individual Bills – Easy Process
To track upcoming bills, use the “Bill Tracking” feature to keep track of when your Bill’s window is open. You may custom create your lists, note the three categories below.
To add bills to your “Tracking Lists”, use the filter function by entering a subject or bill number. When the bill is displayed, click the pin directly above the bill number. The bill will be added to your list. The best part? You will be emailed notices when the bills are ready to be heard and the sign up window to testify.
Go back to the Legislative Tracking report and ask to “Run Report”, the list of bills you are tracking will appear.
To Register to Testify
To sign up to testify, navigate to “Witness Signup” which you can get to by clicking the MyMGA logo in the top right of the webpage. Select the bill or bills you'd like to testify on and whether you are speaking, submitting written testimony, or you can (and we encourage you to!) select "Both." The committee does not have to let you speak, as the Chairs have wide discretion over how the hearing proceeds, but your written testimony and stance will always be with the bill file.
Leave the Organization field blank unless you are speaking on behalf of an organization. Select your position (Favorable, Favorable with Amendments, Informational Only, or Unfavorable). Then select which kind of testimony you're providing (again, doing both is preferred). If you'd like to simply state your position on a bill, you may just select your position and then select "None" in the testimony box. If submitting written testimony, you will need to upload a .pdf.
Take your time here and be deliberate with your choices. Review your choices before clicking the Save button toward the top of the chart.
When a bill is introduced, the House and the Senate have different parameter windows. Please note the following:
The signup window for Senate bills is only available one business day ahead of a bill's hearing between the hours of 8am and 3pm. To speak during a hearing on Monday, one must signup on the preceding Friday.
The signup window for House bills is available two business days ahead of a bill's hearing between the hours of 8am and 3pm. If a bill is scheduled to be heard on Monday or Tuesday, signup is available on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
This is not scary! We have two minutes for the testimonial, this is not a lot of time BUT your voice is so important. JUST DO IT!