Submit Testimony on Legislation

NOTE: Any testimony, whether oral or written, that you submit to the government will go in a public record that can be searched by people who want to read/see it.

Testifying in 2021

The Hawaii State Legislature will be convening digitally for the 2021 Legislative Session. You will have to create an account on the Hawaii State Legislative Website. Please be advised that for oral/recorded testimony the House and Senate chambers are setting deadlines for scheduling your time slot and limiting the length of your testimony. Example: They may require you to tell them you'd like to testify via video conference at least 24 hours before the hearing and you may have only 3 minutes to speak. 

For a comprehensive guide into registering an account and providing testimony via video conference such as zoom, scroll to the bottom of this webpage. 

Simplified Process

  1. Create an account at: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/login/register.aspx. Fill out the required information and read through the privacy statement and listed terms. Click "I understand and agree to the terms above."
  2. Click "Create User".
  3. Check your email to confirm the account registration. 
  4. Go to the homepage. 
  5. In the top-left corner, under "Bill Status/Measure Status" enter the bill number of the bill you'd like to provide testimony on. For example: enter "HB1" or "SB1" without spaces or draft numbers. 
  6. In the top-right corner, click "Submit Testimony". 
  7. Provide the information required in the form. Double-check you are submitting testimony on the correct bill. 
  8. Click Submit.

Template for Written Testimony

[Your First & Last Name]
Regarding [Name of the Committee and/or Agency You are testifying about]
[Date]

[Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself and the issue you want to testify about]

  • Give your first and last name and identify yourself. Ex. “My name is Leilani Jackson and I am a concerned Maui resident/a middle teacher/a mother of three.”
  • Tell them what you’re testifying about. Ex. “I am testifying on how the lack of funding for reentry programs and services has made it difficult for me to find housing” or “I am testifying about how police presence in my neighborhood has made me and my neighbors feel less safe.”

[Paragraph 2: Tell your story]

  • Pick an event or issue that you have worked directly on or been affected directly by that you are comfortable sharing with the public.
  • Tell what services caused this event or issue and how it impacted you.

[Paragraph 3: Explain why you felt the need to testify]

  • Tell why you wanted to share your story and what you want them to take from your story. The more personal, the more people are better to understand your perspective. 
  • What would have helped prevent negative experiences or increase positive experiences.

[Paragraph 4:  Give suggestions for solving the issue or problem you have raised.]

  • What do you think the government should do to make sure others do not have the negative experiences you did or that they have the positive experiences you did?  
  • What do you think will be helpful in dealing with the issue or problem you talked about?

[Paragraph 5: Thank the Committee/Legislative body]

  • Thank the chair of the committee if you know their name for reading/hearing your testimony.
  • Tell them you hope they consider your testimony and the solutions you have suggested. Ex. “Your consideration of these matters and solutions is very much appreciated.”

Tips for Oral/Recorded Testimony

  • Keep your recorded testimony to 2-3 minutes.
  • You should follow the same format as you do for written testimony above.
  • Try to be brief and clear in the message you want to get across.
  • Remember to highlight the most important issues to you. When identifying a problem, try to have a solution to share with the legislative body.
  • Test your audio and video settings before joining the meeting. 
  • To prevent audio feedback and noise, find a quiet room to testify in. This ensures the legislators and public hear you loud and clear. 
  • In the Senate, you must submit your remote testimony request at least 24 hours before the hearing starts.
  • In the House, you are encouraged to submit your remote testimony request at least 24 hours before the hearing starts.
  • Let’s debrief. We want to hear all about your testimony. Click here to report back on your testimony. 

Submitting Remote Testimony 

You’ll Need

  • A reliable wifi connection 
  • A laptop or phone with audio and video recording capabilities
  • An email address

Create an account

Check your email

  • If you registered a new account, check your inbox and confirm your account

Find the Testimony Page

  • Go to the State Capitol Homepage
  • Scroll down and click on the orange ‘Testimony’ button 
  • Enter Bill or Measure and Click Continue 

Submit Written Testimony and Your Request for Remote Testimony

  • Confirm your Full Name, which will be used to identify yourself on Zoom
  • Enter your testimony. 
  • Under the question, “How will you be testifying?” click “Remotely via Zoom during the hearing & submitting written testimony” 

Before the Hearing

  • The Zoom meeting will begin 20-30 minutes prior to the scheduled hearing. 
  • Join the Zoom meeting using your full name you used when submitting written testimony. This allows the Committee Chair to call on you during your time to testify. 

Confirm your Remote Testimony Request

  • Go to the State Capitol Homepage
  • Scroll down and click on the orange ‘Testimony’ button 
  • Under “Your Testimony” in the left hand sidebar, you should see “Zoom Requested” on the bill you’d like to testify remotely on 

To Access the Zoom Link 

  • Login to your www.capitol.hawaii.gov account 20-30 minutes prior to the scheduled hearing.
  • Scroll down and click on the orange ‘Testimony’ button. 
  • Under “Your Testimony” in the left hand sidebar, you should see a “Join” button next to the bill you’re testifying on. 
  • Click “Join” to enter the Zoom video conference room to testify. 

During the Hearing 

  • Allow Zoom access to use your computer or phone’s audio settings. 
  • Click on the ‘Camera’ icon in the lower left sidebar to video into the Zoom conference. 
  • Mute your audio until it’s your turn to testify. Click on the ‘Mic’ icon in the lower left bar. 

Support and Resources

Filter Legislation

SB 783: Qualified Immunity

This bill, companion bill HB 666, allows victims of police violence to sue individual officers for damages under state law and in state court.

February 3, 2021

SB 1245: Jail Moratorium

This bill, companion bill HB 1082, establishes a moratorium on the construction of any new correctional facilities in the State from 7/1/2021 to 6/30/2022, including the planned construction of a new facility to replace the existing OCCC.

February 19, 2021

HB 1082: Jail Moratorium

This bill, companion bill SB 1245, establishes a moratorium on the construction of any new correctional facilities in the State from 7/1/2021 to 6/30/2022, including the planned construction of a new facility to replace the existing OCCC.

February 19, 2021

SB 149: Civil Asset Forfeiture

This bill, like SB 294 and HB 659, restricts civil asset forfeiture to cases where the property owner has been convicted of the underlying offense, but unlike the bills mentioned, allows forfeiture for certain covered misdemeanors or felonies.

February 17, 2021

SB 742: Police Data Collection

This bill requires each county police department to collect certain data regarding police stops, uses of force, and arrests, and submit to the legislature annual reports.

February 17, 2021

SB 294: Civil Asset Forfeiture

This bill, companion bill HB 659, restricts civil asset forfeiture to cases involving a felony offense, and where the property owner has been convicted of the underlying felony offense.

February 17, 2021

HB 659: Civil Asset Forfeiture

This bill, companion bill SB 294, restricts civil asset forfeiture to cases involving a felony offense, and where the property owner has been convicted of the underlying felony offense.

February 17, 2021