How to submit testimony to the Legislature

On Friday, February 6, 2014, at 1 pm, there is a public hearing on HB 2419, which deals with Health Care Interpreting, among other things. This is a great opportunity for interpreters to let the Public Record reflect their opinion on the current law and their desires for improvement.

Please keep the following things in mind.

For public testimony:

• Get to the room early and sign up for a speaking spot. You have to do this to be called to speak.
• You will only have two minutes to speak, and only a few will be allowed to speak on the issue.
• Outline your testimony.
• Practice it and time it. Use a 2 minute timer and ask a friend to honestly tell you if you ramble. If you do, fix it!
• Limit yourself to one or two well supported points.
• Remember, when you go forward, stand or sit with authority. Speak with confidence. You have the floor.
• And, of course, your appearance matters! Dress professionally!
• And your diction should be clear…
• Two minutes is not enough to make your points with enough detail. Submit written testimony as well.

Guidelines for written testimony

First of all, treat this as seriously as any business letter you have ever written. Fact check it, spell check it, etc. Have a colleague check it.

You can submit three kinds of testimony:
• in support
• in support with concern
• in opposition

Remember, this bill covers many issues, not just Health Care Interpreting. There are many good things in this bill. For example, interpreters are now going to be part of the Council! You can write a letter of support, thanking them for that!

You can also submit “friendly improvements”. You may be contacted with questions, so you can help make the bill better.

For each item you make comments on, it helps if you submit the following information:
• what it currently says
• what you want it to say
• where they will find it
• why you think they should make this change

The more details you can offer about this, the better. Those details should be as objective and factual as possible.

Lastly, you can submit testimony by coming to the hearing itself, but you can also email the members of the Committee. You can email the Chair, and you can email the Committee Administrator asking for this written testimony to be added to the record. However, when you do this, since this bill covers so many issues, please be specific. Your email should say, in the subject line, something like “testimony regarding health care interpreting legislation for HB 2419”

Then, in the body of your email, include your written testimony.

We have developed a sample written testimony for your reference. In our case, we focused on the issues we would like to improve, because those are the most difficult issues to document and express clearly. Please adjust it as you see fit.
sample-testimony-letter-for-interpreters-rtf feb 5 2015

Remember, regardless of what any others may submit, all citizens have a right to contact their legislators about the laws being discussed. Remember, submitting testimony in support of items you approve of is also valuable! Please review HB 2419 and look for improvements you support.