In 2021 and 2022, Washington state held fully virtual legislative sessions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For the first time, residents could call in to testify on bills from all over instead of traveling to the state capitol in Olympia.
How to schedule a meeting with your lawmaker
- Identify your legislative district and legislators. Each legislative district has one Senator in the Senate and two Representatives in the House. Find your district and legislators.
- Get contact information for your legislators and their legislative assistants. Visit the Roster of All Members webpage and search by name, district, or scroll to see information for each office.
- Reach out to request a meeting. E-mail your legislator and their legislative assistant or call their office. Example:
Dear Senator or Representative ___________________,
My name is_____________ and I am a constituent in the ___________ district. I would like to set up a time to talk with you about _______________. Please let me know when you are available. Thank you and I look forward to meeting with you!
Remember: Your voice is important! Your legislators represent you and it’s their job to make time and listen. Lawmaker meetings are typically scheduled for short 15-minute time slots and every office has a different scheduling process, some may send a link to schedule a time and others may call or email you back.
How to participate in bill hearings remotely
There are three ways to testify remotely on a bill during the legislative session through the Washington State Legislature webpage:
Note your position (pro or con) for the record
Noting your position for the record is a quick way to show your support or opposition.
- You must sign in at least 1 hour before the hearing begins.
- Choose to sign in PRO (support) or CON (against).
- Choose your position, input your contact information, and submit.
Submit written testimony
If you cannot attend the hearing or prefer to share your story through writing, submitting
written testimony is a good option.
- Submit written comments before the hearing or up to 24 hours after it starts.
- Type or copy-paste your comments into the online form.
- There is a maximum of 5000 characters (about 2 pages).
- Your comments will be made available to legislators and will be included in the record for the bill.
Testify live during a hearing
Testifying during a hearing is a powerful way to share your story!
- You can sign up to testify up to 1 hour before the hearing begins.
- Bill hearings will be broadcast live on TVW.org.
- If you sign up to testify live, you will be sent a link to join the hearing via Zoom.
- The Committee Chairperson may limit public testimony to as little as 1 minute per person. We suggest preparing a 3 minute and 1 minute version of your testimony.
- Be prepared to wait through other bill hearings and be ready at any point during the hearing.
- Signing up does not always guarantee you’ll be able to testify. Even if you register, sometimes there isn’t enough time for everyone to speak.
If you require an accommodation to be able to testify, please refer to the Legislature’s Americans with Disabilities Act Information page. And as always, contact us for help with any step in this process!