LOBBYISTS TESTIMONY AT THE HEARING
Check the Public Hearing Schedules that will be posted in 3rd floor rotunda, the newspaper office, and outside of each committee room to see when your bills are being heard. Then you will know when and where you will be testifying.
When the bills you are going testify for comes up in committee, and the chair asks if there is anyone to testify for (if you support the bill), against (if you oppose the bill) you go to the podium to testify.
State your name, your school, and the organization or group you are representing, and then go on with your testimony. Be prepared, have notes that you can use to stay on point for your comments. When you are finished with your testimony thank the chair and committee. Be prepared to answer any questions that committee members may have for you.
Lobbyists may come up with ideas for amendments to the bill; you can suggest them in your testimony and offer your help to committee to draft amendments.
Lobbyists often are a resource about the facts relating to a bill, be around at the work session in case you can offer information to the committee to help them make their recommendation. Try to influence members to support your side of the issue.
Each Lobbyist when testifying at a public hearing must designate what organization they are representing as they lobby for or against that bill. Below are listed some of the possible groups, businesses, and organizations that you could be the representative of. There are others that you may chose to research and represent.
Any specific Professional Organization (ie Plumbers, Electricians, etc)
NO BRIBES, Maine does have ethics laws ours are modified. You can go with a member to the snack bar to talk over a soda, but you can’t buy the soda for them.
NO THREATS, this won’t do any good anyway. It might get you removed from the program and sent home if threats to others are reported.
NO LYING, if you are caught giving inaccurate information and others have it blow up in their face, your reputation will be ruined all on issues.
NO HARASSMENT, if someone is not coming over to your view, don’t make their life miserable, and remember everyone has a right to their own opinion.
The following are some ideas that the Lobbyist should use to work on getting their views across. Other members may notice that these are good ideas for anyone wishing to get a bill through the process.
When you receive your bill book go through all of the bills in your committee. Take the time to write down your position on each bill. Then do a little research on each bill and get the facts that will support your position, this information will be your main weapon in educating others to support your position. Be aware that one other lobbyist will be working in your committee, and may to oppose to your position, and will be preparing information on the opposing view. Be ready for anything they can bring up.
If a bill isn’t quite what you would like to see, bring to the committee ideas for amendments that you would like to see. Find a member of the committee who will propose the amendments for you.
Talk to as many legislators as you can, find out where they stand.. If they support you give them your information so they can help you spread the word, and get them to speak for you in committee, and on the floor of the House or Senate. If the oppose you try and find out why and work on convincing them to come over to your side. Try to be the person that everyone looks to for information on the bill topic.
Outside of the committee room ask the individual committee members how they feel about the bill. This personal touch is important; someone asking them about what they feel may help you sway those on the fence. If you see through your poll your view is not going to prevail, this will allow you the time to plan a new strategy on get going on getting more support.
Lobbyists are expected to speak either for or against every bill in your committee. Sign in indicating your position for or against the bill being heard. Have a prepared 1-2 minute presentation on your views, and the facts on that bill. This is your chance to show your views on the bill, and that you have the facts about the bill. Be persuasive but avoid talking down to the committee members.
WRITTEN TESTIMONY-FACT SHEETS
Something that has rarely been done by lobbyists is to have a written presentation of the facts on a particular bill. This will allow you to hand out to others your information. Please bring it with you we don’t have access to word processors and copiers enough to allow everyone a chance to make these up when they come to Augusta.
Try and work to get a member of the newspaper staff to do an article about your views and the issue. Tell them why your views should be heard and appear in the paper. Convince them to take the space in the newspaper to put across your views.