The 2020 Maryland General Assembly Session is underway – but for those delivering testimony, it’s not business as usual.
To offer testimony – written and/or oral – for a bill hearing, you must sign up by a specific deadline…that hasn’t changed. Each Committee has its own policies and procedures determining those deadlines (see links at the end of this post).
Those procedures used to involve numbers of copies to drop off by a specific time for the Committee holding the hearing. BIG CHANGE: No more stacks of paper copies of testimony.
For 2020, all House and Senate Committees are implementing the digital delivery plan that was piloted by the House Environment & Transportation Committee in 2019.
Sounds intimidating, but it’s actually very simple:
- Save your testimony as a PDF (important: PDF only) on a thumbdrive
- Print 1 copy of your testimony (3 copies for Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs)
- Arrive at the Committee room well before their deadline (see links below) with your thumbdrive and your printed testimony
- Sign up on the screen in the hallway outside the Committee room (this is where you select the bill; input name, organization, contact info; select testimony type; and input position)
- Go into the Committee office – a staff member will scan your thumbdrive to be sure it’s virus-free; they’ll also take your printed testimony
- Once your thumbdrive scans clean, they’ll show you to a computer where you can insert the drive and use the prompts on the screen to upload your testimony
- That’s it! You’re finished!
A few tips:
- The fewer files on your thumbdrive, the better – it’ll take less time to scan
- If you’re delivering several pieces to multiple Committees on one day, organize your thumbdrive in subfolders by Committee – your testimony will be easier to find!
- Arrive as early as possible to sign up and upload testimony – anticipate long lines for scanning and uploading when there is a high-profile bill
- Show patience and appreciation for Committee staff…this process is new for them, too.
Witness Testimony Guidelines: