How to Submit Testimony to the Maryland General Assembly
2020 Legislative Session – Procedure for Submitting Written Testimony
The below explanation was provided by Mark Posner of the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club.
The following procedures govern the submission of written testimony to all subject-matter committees in the Senate and House. The procedures are identical for all committees, with a few small variations indicated below. (The procedures for Senate Rules, Senate Executive Nominations, and House Rules and Executive Nominations may differ; check with that committee.)
- Written testimony is accepted only on the hearing day. Written testimony may not be submitted before then.
- Written testimony – for all hearings other than budget hearings in B&T and APP – must be submitted in person at the committee office, by: 1) uploading it to a committee computer from a flash drive (testimony may not be emailed to the committee); and 2) bringing a written copy of the testimony (all committees require just one copy, except EHEA which requires three copies). Written testimony for budget hearings in B&T and APP still involve submitting multiple written copies – check with the committees for details.
- Before arriving at the committee office:
- Only testimony in PDF is accepted, so save the testimony in PDF to a flash drive (note: the committee computers are configured to specifically locate documents on flash drives which are in the PDF format; if you forget and have the document in Word on your flash drive, the committee staffer is going to have trouble locating it on your flash drive, and may or may not be willing to convert the document for you);
- Name the testimony on the flash drive using the following format — bill#_ your organization_position on the bill_ your name (note: they are finicky about how this is done – the bill number must include the leading zeroes that appear on the G.A. website; your position should be denominated as FAV, UNF, or FWA (the same abbreviations used on the testimony sign-up screens); the different items in the document name are separated using an underscore (not anything else); and the name should be the same name entered on the testimony sign-up screen);
- Preferably use a flash drive with nothing else on it to facilitate the virus-check (see below); and
- Make a written copy for the committee, or three for EHEA.
- When to submit: 9 am to noon for all committees other than B&T and APP; at least one hour before hearings for B&T and APP. Note: this process may result in lines so it is better to arrive early, and probably best to avoid arriving after 11:30.
- At the committee office:
- Sign up on the electronic witness sign-up screen outside the committee room; an email address is required (this sign-up is now required for written-only testimony, in addition to oral or oral/written testimony); and
- In the committee office or hearing room, give your flash drive to staff who will scan it for viruses; once it passes, you will be directed to another computer where you will follow prompts to upload your testimony (the upload process will begin by using the email address you entered on the testimony sign-up screen). Note: if your flash drive fails the virus check, committee staff will scan your hard copy to upload the testimony to the computer system.
As in prior sessions, the first page of all written testimony must recite the bill number and bill name, the name of the individual or organization submitting the testimony, and the position on the bill (Support, Support with Amendments, or Opposed).