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How to Testify Remotely

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How to Testify Remotely in Committee Meetings​​​

How to Testify - Spanish Version (Cómo Testificar)​​

  

For reference assistance, questions about the legislature, legislative process, or other government agencies, please email help.leg@oregonlegislature.gov, or call 1-800-332-2313.​


How to Register to Testify Remotely​

 


How to Join the Meeting Using Microsoft Teams

 



How to Register to Testify Remotely 


You must register in advance to provide verbal testimony during a committee or subcommittee meeting. Registration closes at the start of the meeting.

There are three ways to register:

  • Look up the committee or subcommittee meeting agenda on the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) website and follow the testimony registration link on the agenda. The system will send you an email with a registration meeting link and instructions for delivering your verbal/video testimony using the Microsoft Teams platform.
  • Look up the committee or subcommittee meeting agenda on the OLIS website and call the listed toll-free number. The phone system will provide you with a phone number and access code to call into the meeting and deliver your verbal/audio testimony.
  • On the day of the hearing, come to the public access station outside of the State Capitol building to deliver your testimony into a publicly provided laptop. Please note that this option is intended for those who do not have internet access or an available phone.

 
Before the Public Hearing


Use the MS Teams meeting link or phone number to join the committee or subcommittee meeting at least 5 minutes prior to the meeting start time. You will “wait” in a virtual lobby until staff admits all participants into the meeting, shortly before the public hearing begins.

If you are joining the meeting with an MS Teams link, please:

  • Join the meeting with your camera off and microphone muted and stay in that mode until you are called on by the Chair to speak.
  • If time permits, committee staff may be able to quickly test your video and audio.
  • If you are not familiar with MS Teams, spend a few minutes reviewing the user interface ahead of time. This link may be helpful: Join a meeting in Teams.

If you are calling into the meeting, please:

  • Join the meeting with your microphone on mute until you are called on by the Chair to speak. At that time, press *6 to unmute.
  • Be aware that when you call in, your phone number will be displayed on the live stream of the committee or subcommittee meeting.


During the Public Hearing


  • During the hearing your camera and microphone should be off/muted until you are called upon to testify.
  • If you are watching the meeting live stream on the Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) website​, close the live stream when public testimony begins and listen to the meeting on MS Teams or your phone instead (live streams have a time delay, and you may miss your name being called).
  • When the Chair calls on you to speak, turn on your camera (optional) and microphone (*6 on your phone to unmute) and provide your testimony.
  • Follow any instructions from the Chair for your testimony. This may include a time limit; in some cases, the Chair will use a chime to indicate when you need to finish.
  • If you do not respond when called on to speak, or you encounter technical difficulties, you may not be able to testify. If this happens, you may submit your testimony in a written format up to 24 hours after the scheduled start time of the committee meeting at which you planned to testify.
  • When your testimony is finished, the Chair may ask that you stay in the meeting to answer questions from committee members.
  • When you are done with your testimony, turn off your camera and mute your microphone/phone. You may leave the meeting and continue to watch the meeting on the OLIS live stream. Or you may remain in the meeting to continue listening and watching with your camera and microphone off. If the meeting is at capacity, you may be removed from the meeting upon the conclusion of your testimony to allow others to join.
  • People testifying remotely are subject to the same rules of decorum as an in-person meeting at the Capitol. Anyone who chooses not to follow the rules for remote testimony established by the committee Chair may forfeit their opportunity to testify. At the direction of the Chair, you may be removed from the meeting if you continue to disregard the Chair’s instructions. ​​​

  

Special Needs

  • If you require special accommodation to testify before a committee, contact committee staff 24 hours before the meeting. Contact staff 72 hours in advance if a sign language interpreter is needed.
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How to Testify to a Committee

 

Giving public testimony before a legislative committee can be an exciting and fulfilling experience.

 

For reference assistance, questions about the legislature, legislative process, or other government agencies, please email help.leg@oregonlegislature.gov, or call 1-800-332-2313.

 

Committees, as the heart of Oregon’s legislative process, allow legislators to study bills closely and hear testimony during public hearings in support of or in opposition to the bills.

Public testimony before a committee may influence the committee’s action. Your testimony also becomes part of the public record and may be used in future research.

You can better prepare and succeed in giving testimony by following the suggestions below.

Know Your Audience

  • Committee members are “citizen legislators,” and they want to hear your comments.
  • Be respectful of committee members as well as other people who come to testify.
  • Do not scold or insult members or other witnesses, or accuse members of causing your issue. This may alienate members from your cause.

Know the Issue

  • Draw from your own knowledge and experience.
  • Support personal opinions with as many facts as possible.
  • Be knowledgeable of the "other side of the story." You may be asked to discuss how and why your opinion differs from others.

Be Familiar with the Committee Process

  • Know the location of the building and meeting room, and be sure of the meeting time.
  • Agendas are posted outside the meeting room. Check the agenda to make sure the bill you are interested in has not been removed or rescheduled. Bills are not always heard in the order in which they appear on the agenda.
  • If possible, attend a committee meeting before you testify to learn about the process. You can also watch videos of past meetings on OLIS.
  • When you arrive at the public hearing, print your name legibly on the witness registration sheet for the appropriate bill. Witnesses may be called out of order. Do not sign up if you only wish to watch the meeting.
  • Visit the legislative website (OLIS) at oregonlegislature.gov to learn more about committees.

Presenting Your Written Testimony

  • Email your written testimony and any materials (reports, handouts, presentations) at least 24 hours in advance so it can be posted electronically to OLIS for the members and public to view. However, written testimony is not required.
  • If you did not submit materials in advance, give your paper copies to committee staff—not directly to the members—after you are called and before you begin speaking.
  • Address members formally (e.g., Senator Jones, Representative Brown). Respond to questions through the chair (e.g., ‘Chair Jones and members of the committee…’).
  • State your name, city or county, and any other affiliation for the record, even if you’ve already been introduced or called upon by name.
  • Clearly state whether you support or oppose the bill and briefly explain your reason.
  • If you submitted written testimony, do not read it word-for-word to members. Make an outline and summarize the main points of the testimony.
  • Keep in mind that many people testifying or a busy agenda may require you to summarize your testimony in two minutes.
  • When finished, thank the members and offer to answer any questions.
  • Members realize that the process may be intimidating; they do not expect perfect presentations.
  • Testifying as a group: Select a few people to cover different topics so the testimony is not repetitive. Address the problem, possible solutions, and your group’s solution. Check with committee staff to determine how much time will be allotted for testimony on the bill.
  • Verbal testimony and written materials are public records available to the public on the Internet. Use discretion on what personal information to include.

Special Needs

  • If you require special accommodation to testify before a committee, contact committee staff 24 hours before the meeting. Contact staff 72 hours in advance if a sign language interpreter is needed.

Making a Difference - A Citizen's Guide on How to Testify

 

"Making a Difference - A Citizen's Guide on How to Testify" covers protocols and procedures of testifying before a Legislative Committee and offers important online resources.

 

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