Getting Involved at the Capitol

Your elected state Legislators need your feedback on proposed legislation. You can visit them in person, call them directly or provide written testimony to express your views.

Quick Links:


The following is a set of suggestions to help you make your voice heard when visiting with your Legislator. You are encouraged to let CYSA's Lobbyist Jay Aronson know about your meeting as he can offer follow-up.

  • SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT: Legislators are not in the Capitol every day. It is important to call their office to set up a meeting and explain why you are requesting a meeting. 
  • STAY UP TO DATE ON THE ISSUE YOU WILL BE DISCUSSING: Contact CYSA's Lobbyist prior to your visit to gain his insight on the issue at hand.
  • BE SHORT AND TO THE POINT: A formal agenda is not necessary, but you should prepare your key points for discussion.
  • IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER TO A QUESTION, SAY SO: There is nothing more important for an advocate than credibility. If you don't have an answer to a question, simply state you will get back to them with the information. Make sure to follow-up.
  • BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER: Just as with a phone call, a Legislator will often tell you not only how they feel but also what the opposition is saying. This may happen directly or through the Legislator’s use of arguments to support or defend a position. 
  • SAY THANK YOU: Follow up each visit with a personal thank you note or email, even if you disagree on the issue that was discussed. The extra effort is worth it!


Letter writing can be an effective method of getting information to a Legislator. The following are suggestions to help guide you.

  • BE CONCISE: A one-page letter is more effective than a wall of words, bulleted points are most effective.
  • USE YOUR OWN IDEAS AND EXPERIENCE: You can rely on fact sheets and other information provided by CYSA, however you are the best person to connect with your Legislator. Local examples are the most effective.
  • STICK TO A SINGLE ISSUE: You may have a number of things to discuss, but you don’t want to flood decision makers with too many ideas which may dilute your message.
  • ASK FOR A SPECIFIC ACTION OR COMMITMENT: Refer to a specific bill and ask for support of your position.
  • DON’T BURN BRIDGES: It is okay to disagree with a Legislator but don’t get angry. While many of these issues are important to us, we need to establish long-term relationships with Legislators. 
  • REQUEST A REPLY: This encourages the Legislator to address the action or commitment you have asked for.
  • ESTABLISH REGULAR CONTACT: Establish a relationship with your Legislator and have regular contact with them. Make sure to invite them to programs and events to see your YSB in person.


State Legislators want to know what you think of proposed legislation before they vote on it. Speaking at a public hearing can be an effective way of getting your point across both in person and virtually.

Getting Ready

Plan your remarks so your viewpoint and reasoning is clear. Contact CYSA's lobbyist to assist with obtaining specific bill information and where to submit testimony.

Determine If You Will Testify In Person or Virtually

Hearings are noticed five days prior to the date of the public hearing in the digital version of the Bulletin on the General Assembly's (CGA) website. 

In Person: 

When in person, hearings are held in the Legislative Office Building (LOB), TV monitors at the entrance of the LOB provide hearing room information. Specific information about the hearing including the date and time and instructions for signing-up can be found on the General Assembly's (CGA) website under the daily calendar of events. 


In the virtual setting, you can sign-up to testify five days prior to the date of the hearing on the Committee's page located on the main page of the CGA website. Please be sure to complete all requested information. Once you are signed-up, information along with the access link to the hearing will be emailed to you by the Committee.

Hearing Procedures

  • For virtual hearings the speaking order is announced the day before the hearing. For in-person hearings, speaker order can be obtained in the hearing room. At many, but not all hearings, the first hour is reserved for Legislators and Agency Heads or invited guests. Although there are exceptions, remaining speakers are typically called in the order in which their names appear on the signup sheet. 
  • Decorum: A hearing is an important step in the process of law making. Please give your courteous attention to other speakers, regardless of their views. Don't applaud or indicate pleasure or displeasure with anyone's remarks.
  • When you are called, turn your microphone and video on (if applicable) and begin your testimony once prompted with "Madam Chair or Mr. Chairman" (as appropriate), "and members of the Committee." Clearly introduce yourself so the transcriber can understand and mention your town and the number and title of the bill you'll be speaking about.
  • Indicate right away whether you support the bill, oppose it, or are offering suggestions to improve it. Then explain your reasoning. 
  • You will have 3 minutes to summarize your testimony. Once finished, remain seated/online to answer any questions Committee Members may have.


Testimony Example - Budget
Testimony Example
Student Example 1
Student Example 2
Student Video Example (Student speaker begins at 3:39)  

 ***Please make sure to share your testimony with CYSA's Lobbyist Jay Aronson at and CYSA's Executive Director Kathryn Dube at