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Testifying For/Against a Bill

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The information on these pages is provided for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice or counsel.


The following list are some handy points to keep in mind when preparing your written or oral testimony for a proposed bill.

  1. State your name and the county you live in.
  2. State any relevant credentials you may have, including the number of years you've homeschooled; how many children have gone on to post-secondary opportunities (ex- college, military, vocational school, work); relevant degrees you may hold; or relevant work experience.
    ** Keep this part to no more than 15-20 seconds
  3. Begin by thanking the Delegates or Senators for their time
  4. Name the bill you are testifying about and clearly state if you are speaking IN SUPPORT or AGAINST the bill.
  5. You have approximately 3 minutes to present your "facts" that support your argument for the bill.
  6. Personal stories that demonstrate a particular point are good, but don't spend too much time talking about you or your children.
  7. If you do share personal anecdotes, focus on your own (unless it is an immediate family member). Telling someone else's story without their permission is hearsay and doesn't carry as much weight.
  8. Don't make your story too emotional or of a victimized nature. Most education-related bills do not win support with pity-centered tactics.
  9. Focus your testimony on only one or two reasons why the bill is good or bad. Make the most of your three minutes by aiming for depth of argument, rather than trying to cover too many points.
  10. Present factual evidence. For example, if you are arguing a homeschool diploma is unnecessary as part of a college application process, prepare a sheet that lists links to relevant Maryland college admission requirements. Also, copy/paste one or two quotes that directly address the issues. Remember to give proper credit to your quotes.
  11. Refer to actual case law, if you know of any that relate to the bill. Be specific with your citation and prepare a written testimony list that can be shared with each committee member.
  12. Refer to other state laws or regulations, if you know of any that relate to the bill. Be specific with your citation and prepare a written testimony list that can be shared with each committee member.
  13. After you identify your points for why the bill is needed or not needed, summarize your argument with the positive or negative effect associated with the bill, should it pass.
  14. If appropriate, offer an alternative idea that the committee could consider in lieu of the bill.
  15. If appropriate, offer an amendment to the bill that would strengthen it.
  16. Thank the committee members for the time and willingness to listen to your testimony.


The information on these pages is provided for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice or counsel.


                 

 
Thursday
December 14, 2017

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