The Public Hearing is an
important step in the legislative process in the State of Wisconsin. All
committees must hold public hearings on a bill before voting on it.
Members of the committees to whom the bill has been assigned for
review, any members of the public who wish to attend.
How do the hearings
work? There are sign-in sheets available for those who wish to go
on-record with their opinions. People may request to speak, may register for or
against the bill without speaking, or may provide information without taking a
position on the bill. Depending on the number of people wanting to speak, there
may be a time limit for each.
Is there an audience?
Yes, size depends on interest. All interested parties and observers can
attend. Media is sometimes there, too.
Do people read prepared
statements? Yes -- however, just reading from a printed
statement isn't that effective. It's better to have a prepared written
statement (bring 20 copies) then simply "discuss" your position with
the legislators when you are called to the table. As always, of course, we
request that our supporters be courteous and respectful at all times and
present their opinions, supported by facts and personal experience, in an
orderly fashion without name-calling or bad language.
Are questions asked of the
participants? Sometimes, but not usually. If by some chance you are
questioned by a legislator, answer to the best of your ability. If you do not
know the answer, say so -- then offer to find out and get back to the
questioner by phone or email later.
How long does a public hearing
take? That depends on how many people attend and wish to
speak. Some public hearings are quite short; others can take hours.
that the entire legislative process takes time. Legislators must examine all of
the pros and cons and listen to the opinions of both sides of an issue. We'll
try to keep you updated on when your help is needed and what you can do.
Meanwhile, keep educating others!