Your Voice Matters at the Connecticut General Assembly
A Guide for Reaching State Legislators and Testifying at Hearings
Your elected state legislators want to know what you think of proposed legislation before they vote on it. You can telephone them or write them letters to express your views. Another effective way of getting your point across is speaking at a public hearing. Here's how:
Virtual Sessions during COVID-19
A lot of things have changed during the course of the ongoing pandemic, but that doesn't mean that Connecticut residents should lose touch with their elected officials. You can still testify, or submit comments on a bill, however -- for the safety of us all -- we are not accepting testimony in person. The information below will help guide you on how to submit your testimony and partcipate in virtual hearings.
During virtual hearings there are three ways you can submit testimony.
- In Writing - Use the Calendar, Bulletins & Agenda to find out how to submit testimony in writing before the start of the hearing. Most committes will accept written testimony via email, prior to start of the hearing. Some may also accept written testimony by mail.
- By Phone - If a phone number is listed on the bulletin, you may be allowed to testify by phone. Follow the instructions in the bulletin to make sure you have been authorized to testify, as well as any special instructions you might need to follow.
- By Video Call - Virtual Hearings are conducted via a video meeting platform called Zoom. Some committees may allow you testify by pre-registering to testify live via video conference.
**NOTE** - Most virtual hearings will require you to pre-register, or submit written testimony, by a deadline. Please read the bulletin & agenda carefully.
A Virtual Hearing - Watching
Prior to COVID-19, the general public was allowed to attend meetings open to the public at the capitol building. However, the capitol complex is currently closed to the public. Watching a virtual hearing from the comfort of your own personal device is even easier...
- Use the Calendar to find events that you are interested in viewing
- Simply click the "event" on the calendar page to access the viewable link
- Click the link to view the meeting. In most cases the link will take you to a public YouTube page for that committee. Each committee has their own YouTube Channel, and you can find a list of available channels here.
A Virtual Hearing - Participating
In order to participate in a Virtual Hearing you'll need to pre-register, so please read the bulletin instructions carefully.
- If you are asked to fill out a form to pre-register, please fill it out accurately & completely. If the committee clerk cannot positively identify you in the virtual hearing, you will be excluded from testifying. Please make sure your name, telephone number, and email address are correct.
**NOTE ** - If you are pre-registered to speak or present testimony, please follow the instructions to join the meeting provided to you by the committee clerk prior to the start of the meeting.
Want to know what happens after the meeting is over or are you interested in a policy topic or specific bill before the General Assembly? You can sign up for the General Assembly's free tracking service to follow bills through the entire legislative process. The bill tracking system will link you to testimony, vote tally sheets, and more. Register today!
It will help to know the number of the bill you're interested in. To find out, call the bill status information room at (860) 240-0555, or call one of the toll-free numbers listed below and ask to be transferred to the Information Room.
The Connecticut General Assembly's internet site (www.cga.ct.gov) will allow you to retrieve the bill status information on the bill you are interested in, including current text, up-to-date actions on the bill, introducer, statement of purpose and co-sponsors.
Plan your remarks so your viewpoint and reasoning will be clear. It may help you to write them out completely.
Your Turn To Speak
When you are called, you may begin with "Madam Chair, Mr. Chairman" (as appropriate) "and members of the committee." Introduce yourself very distinctly so the transcriber can understand, and mention your town and the number and title of the bill you'll be speaking on. In addition, most hearings and meetings are covered by Connecticut Network (CT-N) for broadcast over local cable access stations.
Indicate right away whether you support the bill, oppose it, or are offering suggestions to improve it. Then explain your reasoning. Follow this procedure for each bill you discuss.
Keep your remarks short; 3-5 minutes is usually enough, but be sure not to exceed any announced time limits. If other speakers have already made your point, you can say that you agree with, or want to associate yourself with the remarks of one or more previous speakers. Your views and your name will then be clearly on record.
When you finish, remain attentive for a moment, in case committee members want to ask questions. You will be dismissed by the committee clerk or co-chair and you are then be removed from the hearing and may continue to watch on CT-N or YouTube Live.
To Contact Your Legislator
The General Assembly maintains several toll-free numbers through which you may be transferred to a legislator or to the bill status information room.
To reach a committee office, obtain the number from the League of Women Voters Capitol Information Service (860-240-0222) or ask to be transferred from a toll-free number. If you use a TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf), you can call these numbers:
The senator or representative can also be contacted via email from the appropriate caucus website: