For a list of all lawmakers’ contact information, click here.
2. Find Bills
If you’re interested in a specific issue, search for bills by keyword (such as “education”) or bill number (such as “HB1 for House Bill 1”) in the upper left corner of the Capitol’s homepage.
To see all bills introduced by a particular lawmaker, go to their homepage by clicking a name on this list.
Once you click on a bill, you can see the full text, testimony on the bill, its introducers, committee votes on the bill and more.
3. Follow Hearings
A list of all upcoming hearings can be found here. These public meetings offer a chance for the public to give testimony on a bill and hear what lawmakers have to say on the issue.
Olelo broadcasts certain hearings online and on TV. Videos are also available in the Olelo archives, but it can take weeks for files to be uploaded.
The Hawaii State Public Access Network, an on-demand video service, is available on Channel 50 for Spectrum customers.
If you exceed your allotted testimony time limit, you might see a sign like this.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Your opinion does matter.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ll have been looking through testimony on a bill and it highlights a question that I might not have picked up because I don’t know enough about it,” said Sen. Laura Thielen at a Civil Beat event last week. “So please keep your testimony coming in. Don’t get cynical, it is very helpful.”
To submit written testimony online, create an account on the Capitol site and follow these instructions — whether you plan to speak at a hearing or not. If you don’t know what to say, here’s a template. Be sure to send it in 24 hours before the hearing.
If you’re testifying before the committee, first state your name and group affiliation, if any. Committee chairs tend to limit testimony to a few minutes, and even less time may be allowed in crowded hearings.
For neighbor island constituents wishing to testify online, it’s not quite so easy. The Senate has a videoconferencing program, but it’s only available for select hearings in a certain room. The program isn’t utilized much, a Senate spokeswoman said, but more information can be found here.
5. Understanding Jargon
Lawmakers don’t always speak in plain English. Check out this glossary to understand what’s actually going on.