How to Support or Oppose a Bill in Illinois
What is a witness slip?
Public engagement is a fundamental element of our democracy, and what happens in the Illinois State Legislature can have a huge impact on your life. This is why it is so important that you are able to express your views to Illinois legislators.
On top of contacting your representative, one of the most important ways to make your voice heard is by filing a witness slip to either show support or opposition to a bill.
A witness slip gives individuals or organizations the ability to show lawmakers how they feel about a given piece of legislation. They are filed before a bill is discussed in a House or Senate committee hearing.
Filing a witness slip also gives you the opportunity to give personal testimony, and now that you can testify over zoom the process is more accessible than ever.
How to file a witness slip
1. Visit the Illinois General Assembly Dashboard
2. Go to either House or Senate on the left hand side and select Committee Hearings in the drop down menu
3. Select Week or Month to view the scheduled Committee Hearings
4. On the right of each committee is an icon, when hovering over it reads “View Hearing Details” – click on this icon
5. Now you will see a list of bills the committee will be discussing that day. On the right will be two icons, one that allows you to see the witness slips that have been filed, and one that allows you to create a new one – click on the icon to create a new witness slip
6. Fill in the identification boxes in section I with the appropriate information, if you are filing this as an individual write “self” in the “Firm/Business or Agency” box, and do the same under section II.Representation
7. In the third section, mark if you are an opponent or proponent of the bill
8. In the fourth section mark “Record of Appearance Only” if you do not wish to submit oral or written testimony. If you want to submit oral or written testimony click “oral” or “written” and follow the instructions below after submitting the witness slip.
9. Finally agree to the terms of agreement and hit the “Create Slip” button, and you are done!
How to provide oral/written testimony in a committee hearing?
After filling out a witness slip, email your request to testify to the committee’s email address. Include the following information:
- Full Name
- Organization, if any
- Legislative Measure
- Committee Hearing Name, Date and Time
- Position on Legislative Measure (Proponent, Opponent, No Position)
- Contact Phone Number
- Preferred Email Address
- Attach a copy of any written testimony or presentation you would like to offer – for the Senate include written testimony as a valid PDF file, the PDF name should include the legislation type and number, position, and name (example: SB 1 Proponent Jane Doe.pdf)