Your elected state legislators are interested in your views on proposed legislation. Speaking at a public hearing is an effective way to let them know your opinion.

 Information on Public Hearings

 There are 3 ways to find out when and where public hearings are being held:

  1.  Check the public hearing schedule on the Legislature's website.
  2.  Notice of public hearings are posted 1-2 weekends ahead of the hearing in the Bangor Daily NewsMaine Sunday Telegram and the Lewiston Sun Journal.
  3.  Call the Legislative Information Office at 1-800-301-3178.

Your elected state legislators are interested in your views on proposed legislation. Speaking at a public hearing is an effective way to let them know your opinion.

Preparing Testimony

If you plan to speak at a public hearing, it is often useful to prepare and distribute your comments in written form. This helps you make clear and concise comments, and ensures that committee members who are not present at the public hearing have the opportunity to receive your input.

In preparing testimony, written or not, make sure you introduce yourself and, if you represent an organization, give the name of the organization. State whether you support the bill, oppose it or are offering suggestions to improve it, and then explain your reasoning. If you do provide written testimony, bring at least 20 copies and give them to the committee clerk before you testify. 

When You Arrive

 Most committee hearings are held in the State House (the Capitol) or on the second floor of the Cross Office Building. The buildings are connected through an underground connector which can be entered from the ground floor of either building. The committee hearing times and locations are posted on the third floor of the State House and on the second floor of the Cross Office Building. 

What to Expect

At the beginning of each hearing, the presiding committee chair will call the public hearing to order and announce the bill to be heard. The legislator who sponsored the bill will introduce the bill, after which, the presiding chair will ask if any other cosponsors wish to testify. Once sponsors and cosponsors have had the opportunity to speak, public testimony is invited. Generally, the public may present testimony in one of three categories in the following order: those favoring the bill, those against the bill, and those neither for nor against the bill but who wish to offer information about the bill. (Note: The committee may be hearing several bills during a public hearing. Generally the bills are heard in the order in which they are advertised. However, the schedule is subject to change and the length of the hearing on most bills is difficult to predict.)

Many hearings last throughout the day, and many legislators are members of more than one committee. Legislators may need to leave and re-enter the room if they are scheduled to be at a public hearing or work session in another committee. However, they will receive any written information, which is a good reason to provide written testimony

Your Turn at the Podium

When it is your turn to testify, advance to the podium and sign in. Address the committee as follows: "Senator Smith, Representative Jones and members of the committee." Introduce yourself, indicate who you represent and whether you support the bill, oppose it or are offering suggestions to improve it, and then explain your reasoning. If other speakers have already made your point, let the committee know that you agree with the previous remarks of other speakers, but try to avoid repeating the testimony of previous speakers. When you finish, remain at the podium for a moment, in case committee members want to ask you questions.


Directions to the Cross Building: Take I-95 to Exit 109 (from the South) or 109-A (from the North). Bear right off the exit onto Western Avenue. Proceed east on Western Avenue/Route 202. Follow signs directing you to the Capitol and state offices. At the 6th set of traffic lights, turn right onto Sewall Street.  The Edmund Muskie Federal Building (Post Office) will be on your right, and Dunkin Donuts will be on the opposite side of the road (just after Amato’s). Travel down Sewall Street past the state parking garage (on your left) and go straight through the traffic lights. Just beyond the traffic lights, take the left into the Parking Lot for the State Office Complex. The Cross Building is part of the state complex in Augusta. It is a large gray office building directly behind the Capitol. 

Parking: Free parking is available in the parking garage on the corner of State Street and Sewall Street or where spaces are marked "General Parking." Unauthorized cars will be towed if parked in handicapped parking spaces or any other restricted parking space. One and two hour visitor parking is available on the west side of the Cross Office Building. The visitor entrance to the State House is on the west side of the building


  • Book plenty of time. Some hearings are so well-attended that the session can take an entire day. 
  • Be respectful. Please direct your comments to the committee, not to the audience, and give your courteous attention to other speakers, regardless of their views. Silence cell phones and other electronic devices. Don't applaud or indicate pleasure or displeasure with anyone's remarks. Only members of the committee may ask questions of persons who testify.
  • Prepare written testimony. If you are nervous about public speaking, practice and read your testimony. Bring at least 20 copies and provide them to the committee clerk. 
  • Remember, you are the boss! Your tax money pays for legislators’ salaries, pays for the paper they write on, the phones they use. You are the employer and they are the employees. You should be courteous and respectful, but don’t be intimidated. They are responsible to you and, nine time out of ten, you’ll find that legislators are grateful for your information and perspective.

- Adapted from Testifying at a Public Hearing from the Maine State Legislature Office of Policy and Legal Analysis