Due to Covid-19, the Legislature has introduced some new options for making your voice heard in the Legislative Committee Hearing process.

If you want to testify in person

Keep an eye out for the public hearing date for the bill. The committee chair will indicate the length of time you can speak – it is generally 5 minutes (though the time limit can be modified by the committee chair). It’s helpful to come with what you want to say written down. You can also bring 12 copies of your testimony to have distributed to the committee members.

Be sure to include: Your name, your address (or district), and why you support/oppose/are neutral.

On hearing days, those for (proponents) the bill testify first, then those against (opponents), then those neutral.

If you want to submit written testimony (letter)

You can alternatively submit written testimony. This process is a little complicated, so we’ve tried to parse it down for you.

This is supposed to be a replacement for spoken testimony. Like spoken testimony, you will include your name, address, and why you support/oppose/are neutral. 

Written testimony must be less than 2 single-spaced typed pages or 4 double-spaced typed pages. You must have 12 copies of your testimony. (They will not accept it if there are less than 12 copies.)

The committee will only read and accept your written testimony. You can not submit handouts, brochures, or letters from other people.

To submit, you must hand-deliver your 12 copies to the hearing room between 8:30 and 9:30am on the day of the hearing. When you deliver your testimony, you must also sign the submitted written testimony record.

If you want to submit a position letter for the record (email)

This avenue allows you to avoid all in-person hazards and makes adding your viewpoint accessible to those who can’t take off work or childcare to submit testimony.

In your email, include your name, your address (and district), the bill number, clearly state whether you’re for/against/neutral, and specific request for your letter to be included in the public hearing record. (A sentence like “I request this letter be included as part of the public hearing record,” will do.)

You must send your email to the appropriate committee’s email account by 12-noon CST on the last work day before to the public hearing. This means if the hearing is on a Tuesday, you must send your email by 12-noon CST on Monday. You can find the list of committee emails here: https://nebraskalegislature.gov/committees/committee-emails.php

You must send the letter to the committee email. No other email will allow your comments to be placed in the public record.

Please note: Any “mass communications” emailed to the committee list (like using a template generator on an activism website to send an email), will not be included in the record (even if it’s received in the time limit and your message requests for the communication to be included in the public record).

FYI on online public comment form

You may see spots on the NE Legislature website or websites for different senators that would allow you to leave online comments. These do not make it onto the public hearing record. Online comment tools are useful to send comments to senators and their staffs, but are not a replacement for sending testimony to the public hearing record.