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Effective Written Testimony & Correspondence

Written testimony is an important way to testify and should be submitted regardless of whether you plan to present oral testimony. In many cases, hearings on bills are limited on time. Therefore, time may run out before you are heard. Submitting written testimony will be entered into the hearing record and will get your position across to legislators.

Draft a full statement to be submitted for the record. Make sure you have enough copies printed in advance of the hearing.  Your testimony should clearly state whether you are for or against the issue, the issue at hand, and whether the bill will alleviate or exacerbate the issue.

Also, prepare typed copies of your statements and have business cards ready for media. Make a list of other groups that may be supporting your position. In the event of a highly controversial issue, you may wish to distribute them to the press.

The following tips will ensure that your letters are clear and effective.

  1. Header. Identify yourself or the CAI Legislative Action Committee, the bill name and number or issue, the governmental body and your position on the issue. Address the testimony to the chair of the committee. Below is a sample for guidance. Use it as a template for style, but feel free to use whatever style you prefer. What is important is the information is included.

  2. First paragraph. Identify yourself as a constituent and or a resident of or professional working with a community association. Indicate any elected or volunteer positions you hold in your community or within your local CAI Chapter or state legislative action committee. Make sure you identify that you are a CAI member. If you are writing as a representative of one or more community associations, include the names of the communities and the number of homes or unites in each association. State the purpose of your letter. Clearly indicate your position on the issue or legislation and state your views in your own words.

  3. Second paragraph. Make a statement about the impact the measure would have on you, your association or your business.

  4. Third paragraph. Make constructive suggestions for improvements to the legislation or proposal if appropriate. Offer other solutions or alternatives.

  5. Final paragraph. Thank the official/body for his or her attention to your concerns. Ask the body to support your position: "Therefore, I urge the committee to support HB 309."

Remember: Testimony should be limited to one bill or issue. Be polite and positive and do not attack or threaten a government official. Try and keep it to one page.

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