How to have your voice heard in Augusta (in COVID times)
The legislature is in session, but the session looks very different this year as public hearings and work sessions have moved to a virtual format. That said, your input and participation in the legislative process is more important than ever and may in fact the virtual format may make it easier for you to participate, given you don’t have to drive to Augusta to testify.
I recently submitted testimony (online) on a bill and found the process to be easy. Then, I had a question if I was scheduled to testify? I emailed the Clerk of the Committee and she replied within the hour. If you can submit written testimony and testify (via zoom), great! That said, you can submit testimony without testifying. Written testimony is shared with the committee and it is read and considered.
Don’t be intimidated by this. Written testimony does not need to be a novel or perfectly crafted. A Senator recently shared at a Chamber “Hot Stove” event how important it is to hear from you! A paragraph describing why you are in favor of or in opposition of a bill and how it will effect your business (or your life) is all it takes to inform policy makers as they consider their position. He added that personal and unique “stories” and examples are more effective than many people sending in the same letter.
Calling or emailing your representatives is also effective and easy to do! Find your State Representative here. You can also use the general contact form. Find your State Senator here. Share your thoughts/opinion with Governor Mills here.
Attend Hot Stove! The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce offers you a unique opportunity to engage with policy makers at the national, state and local level by attending our monthly Hot Stove event. This event is virtual this year and is held one Saturday a month during the legislative session. Mark your calendar for March 13 and April 10th and head to our website to register.
We will do our best to keep you informed about legislation that effects our members and our regions. You can follow the calendar of public hearings and work sessions here.
If you have any questions, please reach out. We are happy to help!