Submitting Legislative Testimony - Frequently Asked Questions
Updated January 28, 2013
The Oregon Legislative Information System (OLIS) is a new, web-based system that the Legislature will use in 2013 to make legislative documents more easily accessible. The goal of OLIS is to make information electronically available over the Internet so that anyone who is not physically in a committee meeting room has access to the same information as those in the meeting room. OLIS will also save paper and photocopying costs since more information is in digital format.
If you are planning on testifying before a committee, we would like to have your testimony, reports and/or other handouts are on OLIS in time for the meeting. Please submit your final electronic copies, in PDF format, to committee staff by noon the business day before the scheduled committee meeting. Attach and send them to the email address listed toward the top of the committee agenda. Once your materials are submitted, committee staff post them to OLIS for committee members to review. These materials are then released to the public just before the meeting begins. After your materials are posted, they are public record, meaning legislators, staff and members of the public can review and even download those materials. On the day of the hearing, please bring sufficient hard copies for each member at the dais (check the agenda for the recommended number to bring).
Please review the following Q&A for additional details, and do not hesitate to contact committee staff, listed on each agenda, if you need assistance. As always, we welcome constructive feedback to make the system better. Thank you.
1. What type of materials should I submit electronically? Back to top
People often submit a paper copy of their testimony when they testify before a committee. Sometimes they accompany written testimony with other materials such as reports and brochures. These materials become official “exhibits” when they are submitted for or during a meeting and become part of the “public record,” which means they go in the committee’s official record, and can be viewed by anyone who wishes to see them.
You should electronically submit any materials you would otherwise distribute to the committee at the meeting, including any digital or computer-based presentations, such as PowerPoint or a video.
Please see Question 21 regarding copyrighted materials and other limitations on posting materials. Also, please be aware that all submitted materials will be viewable by the public, including names, addresses, phone numbers and any other personal information that is included in the materials.
2. When should I submit these materials? Back to top
In order to make your testimony available to legislators during the committee meeting, submit these materials as early as possible, but no later than noon the business day before the meeting.
3. If I email my testimony to staff by noon the business day before a meeting, is it put on OLIS before the meeting begins? Back to top
Yes. These materials are uploaded to OLIS for review by committee members by the end of the day. Materials are released to all legislators and to the public before the meeting begins.
Other bill documents – such as amendments – are available to the public in advance of the meeting when possible.
4. What if I am not able to meet the deadline of submitting materials by noon the business day before the meeting? Back to top
This deadline gives committee staff time to upload materials to OLIS. If submitted after that deadline, staff will attempt to include them, but there is no guarantee that materials received late will be posted in time for the meeting.
5. What if I prefer not to make my testimony available in advance of the meeting? Back to top
If you do not submit your testimony by the noon deadline, it may not be available to members to review before the meeting. It also delays giving the public access to timely information via the Internet. In addition, many lawmakers do not want to receive paper copies of testimony during a meeting.
If testimony is not sent electronically prior to a meeting, you should email it to committee staff as soon as possible following the meeting. There is also a Committee Services & Information (CSI) desk in the Capitol Building where staff can assist you (see #16 below).
6. Do I still need to bring paper copies of all the handouts I intend to use with my testimony … even if I submit them in digital format by the deadline? Back to top
Yes. Please refer to the bottom of the committee agenda for a requested number of copies for a particular committee, or contact committee staff for more information.
7. Do I need to bring paper copies for the audience? Back to top
This is usually optional, and may depend on the preference of the Chair. If you do bring extra copies, we place them in the back of the room for distribution.
Agendas usually note (at the bottom) additional information and instructions about how many copies of handouts to bring. You can also check with the committee assistant, administrator or CSI desk if there are questions.
8. How do I deliver files electronically to committee staff? Back to top
Attach your files to an email to committee staff by noon the business day before the scheduled meeting. The email address to send files is toward the top of each agenda. Additional information about committees is at http://www.leg.state.or.us/comm, and the CSI desk is available to assist the public (see below).
9. In what file format should my materials be sent? Back to top
Files should be sent in Portable Document Format (PDF).
10. In addition to my testimony, what information should I include in my email? Back to top
In the email subject line, please identify the bill number and the name of the committee holding the meeting. In the body of the email, include:
11. Can I give committee staff a digital copy of my handouts on a flash drive or CD during the meeting? Back to top
No. There is too much activity during a meeting for the administrator or assistant to copy files from a thumb drive, CD or other medium. Emailing them as attached files is the best method for submission. Or, the CSI desk can assist you.
Free, wireless Internet access is available throughout the Capitol building. [Note that this free Internet access must be used in compliance with the Capitol Wireless Terms and Conditions usage policy. For a copy of this policy, please visit the IS Help Desk, Rm. 141 in the Capitol Building].
12. My written testimony may be in rough draft right before the meeting. Should I send these draft materials in advance? Back to top
Do not send materials until you know they are final. If you send draft materials, and they change, the wrong version may end up on OLIS. Staff will strive to update materials on OLIS if received after the deadline, but making last minute changes may not be possible.
If you send materials by noon the business day before a meeting, but your materials change prior to the meeting, bring paper copies of the correct version to the meeting and tell the members when you begin your testimony that they should refer to the paper version of your materials.
13. Will proposed amendments be available on OLIS? Back to top
Committee staff will strive to make amendments available on OLIS as soon as possible.
Staff will have a limited number of paper copies of amendments available in the meeting room when feasible, even if it is posted on OLIS; however, if amendments are received just before or during a meeting, there may be a delay in getting paper copies to the meeting room.
14. Can I submit materials on a measure even if it is not posted on an agenda for a meeting? Back to top
Materials should not be submitted until a measure is posted for a meeting.
15. What if I submit materials for a meeting, but am not able to attend to testify or a Chair delays or reschedules a meeting? Back to top
Sometimes people anticipate testifying, but are unable to attend the meeting or sign-up to testify but the meeting ends before they are called. Sometimes, a bill is carried over to another day when a person may be unable to testify.
Chairs can note submitted materials “for the record” even if the submitter does not testify. If a bill is carried over to another meeting, materials relating to that bill are posted under the new meeting date.
If a bill is removed from an agenda and not rescheduled for a future meeting, staff remove from OLIS any materials on that particular bill, and do not repost it on OLIS unless the bill comes back on an agenda.
16. What if I am not sure how to attach files to emails, or I have a hand written document that I wish to submit to a committee? Back to top
The Committee Services & Information (CSI) desk in the Galleria (across from Hearing Room C) will provide assistance getting your documents on OLIS.
CSI staff can scan materials for you or retrieve files from a thumb drive, CD/DVD or similar mediums, and ensure these files get to the right place. If you have not submitted your testimony electronically prior to a meeting—or need other information or assistance with the committee process— please visit the CSI desk.
17. Can I take materials to the CSI desk after the meeting has started to make sure they are uploaded to OLIS by the time I am called up to testify? Back to top
It is possible that materials received the same day of a meeting can still be uploaded to OLIS, but there is no guarantee this will happen. In order to ensure documents are available on OLIS, they must be submitted by noon the business day before the meeting.
18. Are committee exhibits available on OLIS after the meetings? Back to top
Yes, most materials handed out during a meeting, if not on OLIS before the meeting, will usually be posted following the meeting. For a variety of reasons, some documents may not be on OLIS. Documents on OLIS are provided as an informational service only and should not be relied upon as an official record. Exhibits for past legislative sessions are available at the Oregon State Archives.
19. What other committee information is available on OLIS? Back to top
OLIS includes committee agendas, members of committees, staff contacts and related committee information. OLIS also includes information on measures voted out of committee, including how the measure may have been amended and how members voted.
20. How do I know when OLIS is updated with new information? Back to top
The user is responsible for checking OLIS for new information. Users should remember to refresh their computer browser (F5) to see if new materials are posted.
21. Are there some materials that will not be available on OLIS? Back to top
Yes. Sometimes committees receive oversized documents (e.g., posters) or very long documents that, at the discretion of committee staff, cannot be feasibly scanned and placed on a web page. Or, someone may show a DVD, which then becomes part of the official committee record. (We collect a copy of the DVD for committee records, but cannot store such large files on our system.) In these and similar situations, OLIS will note that the exhibit is unavailable on the web.
We cannot post any copyright-protected materials on OLIS. Anyone who submits materials authored by someone else should first receive permission from the author to submit the materials.
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