How to Give Testimony

You can provide testimony for legislation concerning children at the federal and state government levels. 

State Level Legislative Hearings (Ohio specific):

Testifying at a legislative hearing is an effective form of communicating your concerns regarding legislation that affects you. Many of Ohio’s newspapers print weekly schedules of legislative committee hearings.

If you wish to attend a committee hearing or to testify, information may be obtained by calling the committee chairman’s office, your representative’s office, or the appropriate Legislative Information Hotline number. Before the hearing, you must fill out a witness slip indicating your desire to testify.

You need not appear in order to testify, as written testimony is welcome. However, your presence will add emphasis to your position.

Before testifying, try to anticipate any questions you might be asked, and practice your responses so that you’ll be prepared. Remember that your testimony will be short, approximately three minutes.

Begin your statement by giving your name and who you are affiliated with (if anyone), as well as any credentials that may qualify you as an expert on the legislation being proposed. State your position for/against the proposed legislation, identifying the legislation by both name and number.

Summarize your position then explain it in more detail. When finished, thank the committee for allowing you to speak.

Be sure to prepare written testimony and make enough copies for all committee members.

Federal Level Legislative Hearings:

At the federal level, you must be invited to give testimony. Prospective witnesses are typically interviewed prior to the hearing and then issued a formal invitation by the committee or legislative body.

This invitation should include the rules of the specific hearing in which you will be testifying, including any time restrictions. Written testimony must be submitted in advance, and is then given orally during the hearing.

Opening statements are given by the committee, with witness testimony proceeding next. Witnesses give a brief summary of their written testimony and then are asked questions by the committee to expand upon what was already stated and to clarify points which are unclear.

After the hearing concludes, it is possible that you will receive further questions in writing to which you would need to respond.

Members of the Case Western Reserve University community may access additional guidance on protocol and procedures related to interactions with public officials through the Case Western Reserve University Office of Government Relations.