8
Mar
2021

Citizen Engagement Guide

Citizen Engagement Guide for the CT Legislature and the Energy and Technology Committee

            Each year the CT General Assembly (CGA) goes into Session to do work related to the State budget or specific “bills”/legislation. Your participation as a CT resident is highly encouaged. For those who think writing or calling legislators and/or participating in public hearings is a wasted effort, IT IS NOT! Especially phone calls and emails to legislators—when legislators hear “noise” they pay attention!

What follows is a guide for how to participate in CT’s government process. If you have access to a computer or smart phone , those two tools will be invaluable.

Getting Started and Making Contact

  1. On a computer go to cga.ct.gov – This is the CT General Assembly where all the work of the State Legislature takes place You will now be on the CGA website and homepage. It provides comprehensive information about legislators, Committees and the bills being proposed or passed into law.
  2. Just below the top of the website, see a horizontal bar of selections. Put your cursor on “Committees”, then drag your cursor to the “Energy and Technology” Committee. Click and you will see the cover page for that Committee. Scroll down a bit and on the left see “Committee Membership”. Click and a list of all Committee members appears starting with the leaders of the Committee. Each Committee member shows a link to their website . Click on a link and you’ll go to the legislator’s own website. There you will see a form for sending them a message.
  3. You cannot be anonymous . You must provide your name and contact information. This is the easiest way to reach a legislator and there is no limit to the number of messages you can send on subject matter of importance to you. You can communicate with your legislator this way 365 days a year, not just when the General Assembly is in session.
  4. On a legislator’s own home page you will also find their phone number. When you call the number, anyone of the following might happen:
  • You might reach a receptionist for several legislators, in which case ask

To speak to the “aide” of the legislator you want

  • You might reach the legislator’s “aide”, in which case describe to them who you are and why you are calling. They will relay your message OR as you to follow up in writing
  • You might reach the aide’s voice mail in which case state who you are, your contact info and why you are calling.

Whether you write or call always clearly state:

  • Your name
  • Town you live in
  • Your contact information. Speak slowly and deliberately.

(State your email address and phone number twice. Spell your name

If that would assure it’s understood for a response)

  • When calling about a proposed BILL (or current statute/law), give the Bill # (statute #) and the name of the Bill (statute) you are commenting on
  • State whether you support or do not support the subject matter and why.
  • Be civil, but you can be angry. You can also be passionate, but not hysterical.
  • It is highly effective to describe how the passage of a particular Bill (or the existence of a current statute) would help you or hurt you. Comments that describe the effect on YOU is paid attention to

 

Your Opportunity to have Your Voice Heard —Public Hearings on Bills

During this current 2021 General Assembly, Public Hearings on proposed Bills are conducted virtually using ZOOM.

Go to https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/CGABulletin/Bulletin.asp and find the entry for the Committee hearing you are interested in. Hearing lists are shown in calendar order.

Typically individuals who wish to testify via Zoom must register using the On-line Testimony Registration Form.  The On-line Testimony Registration Form must contain the name of the person who will be testifying.  A unique email address must be provided for each person registered to speak.  Registration closes the day before the hearing at a specific, published time.

Speaker order of approved registrants will be listed in a randomized order and posted on the Committee’s website under Public Hearing Testimony.  For persons who do not have internet access, they may provide testimony via telephone.  To register to testify by phone, call the Phone Registrant Line at (860) 240-0033 to leave your contact information.

Please email written testimony to APPTestimony@cga.ct.gov in Word or PDF format.  Once again, testimony starts with you greeting top members of the committee (by name) followed by your name, where you’re from, whom you represent (if anyone), then your statements in support or against the Bill or subject matter .

Committees request that testimony be limited to matters related to a Bill’s subject matter or the subject matter being discussed in a particular Committee meeting, not a topic from last year or a different Committee’s agenda.

Speakers at a hearing are limited to three minutes of testimony. Committees encourage speakers to submit a written statement and to condense their spoken testimony to a summary of their written statement(to be sure to keep within the 3 minute limitation .

NOTE: All public hearing testimony, written and spoken, is public information.  As such, it will be made available on the CGA website and indexed by internet search engines.

In summary, there are three ways you can submit testimony on one or more Bills.

  1. In Writing –

Go to https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/CGABulletin/Bulletin.asp

 

Use the CalendarBulletins & published Agenda (s) to find out when hearings will occur and the deadline for written testimony. Most committees will accept written testimony via email, prior to start of the hearing. Some may also accept written testimony by mail (USPS). If you miss a hearing date, submit your testimony anyway. All comments from the public count!

  1. By Phone – If a phone number is listed on the bulletin, you may be allowed to testify by phone , and you will still have to register. Follow the instructions in the bulletin to make sure you get authorized to testify, as well as any special instructions you might need to follow.
  2. By Video Call – Virtual Hearings, as described above, are conducted via a video meeting using Zoom. Follow instructions in the bulletin to make sure there will be a live broadcast via CT-N or YouTube.com

If you have questions on any of the above, feel free to submit them to:   our email address

Useful Links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTGa87Fz4jw – Watch Committee meetings and hearings

https://cga.ct.gov/asp/Content/YourVoice.asp – a citizen guide

https://cga.ct.gov/ – CT General Assembly website

https://ct-n.com/Default.asp – CT Network Website – see calendar of recorded meetings , what’s coming up live, and on-demand (previous meetings )

 

 

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