Dyslexia Legislation Please attend the Public Hearing! July 11, 2017
What to expect at the Public Hearing
Attending and Testifying at a Legislative Public Hearing: Dyslexia Screening Legislation S.294S.313 H.330 and H.2872 Members of the public get an opportunity to comment on bills at legislative committee public hearings. You can testify about why you support (or oppose) a bill and describe how a proposal for a new law could affect the lives of you, your community and Massachusetts residents. You can also say that a lack of such legislation results in problems for kids with dyslexia. You have the power to share information and a personal perspective that can influence how a legislative committee deals with a bill. Your dyslexia story matters! We need to convince legislators that there is reason for them to take action.
Background ▪ Committees usually deal with a group of bills on the same general topic at one legislative hearing. On July 11, 2017 the currently proposed bills for dyslexia legislation S.294S.313 H.330 and H.2872will be heard before the Joint Committee on Education with other bills. ▪ Anyone can testify at a hearing, parents, students, teachers, neuroscience researchers, speech and language pathologists, nurses, social workers, psychologists, anyone. ▪ Advocacy organizations describe the impact the bill would have on certain groups. ▪ Experts share data to strengthen the reasons for supporting or opposing the bill. ▪ Citizens share personal experiences and explain their positions on a bill. This type of testimony is essential – it demonstrates the depth of public support (or opposition), provides real-life context, and shows why the bill is important to individuals.
What to Prepare and Expect If you are attending the hearing you should arrive 20-30 minutes before the planned beginning of the hearing. It will take significant time to get through security and metal detectors. Find the hearing room and sign-in on the sheet provided. This can be for those presenting spoken testimony and those submitting written testimony. You can also attend the hearing and show support just by your presence. There will be DDMA volunteers outside hearing room to answer any questions. The Hearing will be at 10:00 am A2 at the State House, July, 11, 2017
▪ You don’t need to testify to help and show support. By filling the hearing room we can also demonstrate the overwhelming and broad support we have. Help us fill the hearing room. ▪ Written Testimony. Anyone can submit written testimony. This is a written letter or statement on why you think the committee should pass Dyslexia screening and Use of the scientific definition of dyslexia.
If you are speaking to testify, you should bring a few copies of your testimony to give to the committee and others who may want it (media, coalition partners etc.) You can also submit without speaking, written testimony.
If you are unable to attend or just planning on submitting written testimony you can give to the committee on the day of the hearing or email it ahead of the hearing to address below. Written testimony can be written as a letter addressed to the Chairs and the Members of the Committee. Make sure to prominently indicate the bill number, S.294S.313 H.330 and H.2872 , whether your testimony is in support or opposition to the bill.
For Example: To:Chairwoman Sonia Chang-Diaz , Chairwoman Alice Hanlon Peisch and members of the Joint Committee on Education.
I am here today to testify in favor of the dyslexia legislation for early screening and a science based definition accepted by our state.
Written testimony should be Hand delivered or mailed to: Sonia Chang-Diaz, Senate Chair Joint Committee on Education 24 Beacon Street, Room 111 Boston, MA 01233
Alice Hanlon Peisch, House Chair Joint Committee on Education 24 Beacon Street, Room 473G Boston, MA 01233 Or it can be emailed to or emailed to Pooja.Phaltankar@mahouse.gov (Large files will not necessarily go through you can call and ensure it was received.)
Be sure to list the Bill numbers and state in the email "To be submitted for testimony for the Hearing on Bills H.330 , H2872, S.313, and S.294" ▪ Include your name, address and your reason why you care about or support the Dyslexia Bills. ▪ Hearings do not last for a set amount of time: they can be brief or they can last for hours. You may wish to bring water in case the hearing runs long. ▪ Witnesses/experts may be invited to testify or organized in pre-set panels. The Committee will determine how they are calling those wishing to testify. Sometimes in order of sign up, sometimes alternating pro and con, etc. Remember that there will be other bills heard at the hearing and we will need to wait for Dyslexia Bills to be called. It is customary for elected and other public officials to be invited to testify “out of turn” or whenever they show up.
When testifying in person, Thank the committee for the opportunity to testify, and provide your name and the town or city where you live. Say clearly that you are speaking to support the bill before setting out your reasons or providing your personal perspective. Then urge the committee to pass the bill from their committee quickly.
▪ Individual testimony should last no more than 3 minutes, and ideally less. Introduce yourself to the committee and tell a brief personal story – and the reasons why you support the bill. Stories personalize the legislation to committee members and allow them to relate to how people are impacted by the problem or would be impacted by the bill. You want elected officials to understand why you are passionate about the issue and how it impacts their constituents. If you have more to say than can be conveyed in 3 minutes, it should be in your written testimony. ▪ The Decoding Dyslexia will be organizing certain panels of experts to make sure the key messages are hit. Even in the case of an expert panel, each testifier should keep under 3 minutes and we will work to make sure your primary messages are diverse.
Please bring written testimony, on letterhead with your contact info, and any supporting documents to give to the committee. ▪ After you give your testimony, you may be asked follow-up questions by members of the committee. Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t have enough information for an answer. You can offer to try to get more information for the legislator and provide it later.
DO ▪ Do address the Chairs as Chairman/Chairwoman and the other members as ‘Representative’ or ‘Senator’ and check how to pronounce their names. (list of members below) ▪ Do refer to the bill title and bill number. ▪ Do focus your testimony on the point/s that matter most to you. ▪ Do be respectful and professional. DON’T ▪ Don’t read from your written testimony. It’s better to talk with committee members and to look at them, not at your papers. ▪ Don’t try to answer a question when you don’t know the answer. You can offer to get more information for the legislator. ▪ Don’t argue with or criticize legislators who have different views. ▪ Don’t cheer or jeer anyone testifying. State House Website: https://malegislature.gov/ Full List of Committee Members here:
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