How To Testify at a Public Hearing

September 8, 2015

A great way to make your voice heard at the state Capitol is to testify at a public hearing.

CT’s legislature holds hundreds of public hearings throughout the year to give the public a chance to comment on proposed bills, current policies and to share new ideas.

The Capitol may seem intimidating, but testifying is meant to be open and welcoming to everyone.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Get to know the sign up process

  • Most hearings will have signup sheets outside of the hearing room at least one hour before the hearing starts.
  • Speakers are usually taken in a “first come- first served” order – so plan to arrive early to sign up early.

2. Keep your testimony focused

  • Speakers are usually given 3 minutes to speak.
  • Remember to bring multiple copies of your testimony to hand out to legislators.
  • Hearings can be very long, and legislators may come and go. Remember that all your testimony will be recorded and shared with lawmakers after the hearing as well.

3. Speak clearly

  • When it’s your turn to speak at the microphone, sit at the speaker’s desk, state your name and address the chairs of the committee.
  • You can read directly from your written testimony or summarize in short remarks.
  • After you speak, remain at the microphone for a moment, in case committee members want to ask questions. Then return to your seat or leave the hearing.

4. If you can’t testify in person, you can usually email in written testimony.

5. Grab the Daily Bulletin.

  • Gives lots of important information about hearing schedules, locations, bill numbers and more.
  • You can get a bulletin in the LOB’s ground floor bill room during regular sessions or on the General Assembly’s internet site (

Visit the “Citizen’s Guide” for more info: