Monday, September 2, 2013

How to Testify for a County Bill

Get involved in the process to create legislation and public policy that is appropriate for your County by participating in the public hearings for proposed Bills and amendments. The County Council meets in the Hilo & Kona Chambers alternately, and has satellite centers around the island for your convenience.
  1. Locate and Read the Bill 
  2. Visit with the County Council Representative(s)
  3. Testify for the Bill (and in some cases Rally - Sign Waving or Marching)
You can visit the County Council Bulletin Board to see the meeting agenda's or sign up to have the agenda's sent to you via email. Once an agenda item has been recorded you can review or download an electronic copy from the County Laserfiche Website at: 

You can testify in person, on the day of the public hearing or by submitting a written or video testimony by noon on the workday prior to the public hearing. 

Important information to include with your testimony

  1. DATE of the hearing which is 9/4/13
  2. Communication (COM) or Bill number
  3. Committee's name i.e. "Public Safety and Mass Transit" (PSMT)
  4. Your name and where you live
  5. Your position -- whether you SUPPORT or oppose
 Testimony Formats
See Complete Instructions
  1. Testify in Person (Oral and/or Written)
  2. Written Testimony
  3. Video Testimony
You can testify in a group, meaning before you read your testimony say that you are also representing the following people, and then list their names. The time you spend reading the names will NOT be counted against your time. Make sure you say your name, where you live, and who you are (i.e. mother, organic farmer, business owner, etc) Bring 15 copies of your testimony with you that day and give 14 to the clerk; keep one for yourself to read from, then give it to a press person.

WRITTEN TESTIMONY You can send in your written testimony via regular mail, email mail or fax machine. You can include research studies, factual data, books, or videos along with your personal written statement. Items that can not be duplicated should be sent in multiples of 14 so that they can be distributed to all of the County Council representatives. 

Those submitting video testimony may email a complete web address (url) to before 12:00 noon, on the workday prior to the public hearing.

The email should include the following:
  1. Date
  2. the Committee, 
  3. agenda item, 
  4. and number of testifiers on the video submittal. 
  5. Send SEPARATE VIDEOS for each agenda item. 
  6. Video submittals may contain up to three (3) individual testifiers and shall each be up to three (3) minutes in length. 
  7. Video testimony will not be played during the meeting; however, it will be distributed to Council Members prior to the meeting. If submitted after the deadline, Council Members will receive the video testimony after the meeting. The Office of the County Clerk reserves the right to refuse testimony containing inappropriate content or that is not in compliance with Council Rule 13 (Public Statements and Testimony) .
Allowable video formats are to be internet-based, downloadable, and accessible to this office and the general public; e.g. YouTube being the most commonly known but any, of similar functionality and format we can access and review, is acceptable.

 If you miss the deadline for written public testimony, the Office of the County Clerk will accept your written public testimony at the Committee meeting. When submitting written public testimony at a Committee meeting, please see a Committee Services staff person stationed at the front entrance of the Council room and provide them with your written public testimony. The Office of the County Clerk advises that you bring fourteen (14) copies of the written public testimony to expedite distribution to the Council members during the meeting.

Hawai`i Island County Council Representatives
The Hawai‘i County Council is comprised of nine members, each elected from one of Hawai‘i County’s nine council districts, and serving two-year terms. The Council’s powers and functions are governed by Article 3, Section 3-1, Hawai‘i County Charter, which states that the legislative powers of the county shall be vested in the County Council. Its primary function shall be legislation and public policy formulation. The Council is responsible for passing the laws that govern this county, as enacted by ordinance, and written in the Hawai‘i County Code.

Detail Information about each elected council member can be located on the County's website at:

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