Legislative Testimony Assignment (FTS-100-131, Fall 2012)

Due by email November 20th; revised version due by email November 29th; oral presentation December 13th

When the Minnesota legislature considers a bill, a relevant committee holds a public hearing at which experts and members of the general public offer testimony either supporting or opposing the bill. Often the testifiers also submit their testimony in writing. Particularly on controversial bills where many testifiers are expected, the committee chair may impose a time limit for each testifier. The written testimony may go into somewhat more detail.

For the purposes of this assignment, we will assume that the time is the spring of 2013. The newly-elected Minnesota legislature is in session. Rep. Hailperin has reintroduced a bill that Rep. Champion got passed in 2009, but which at that time was vetoed by Governor Pawlenty. By amazing coincidence, the bill is again numbered HF 545. Rep. Simon, the chair of the Elections Committee, has scheduled a hearing with a limit of three minutes per testifier. You are to take the role of one of the testifiers. (When we do the mock hearing, you'll also play the role of a committee member.) You are to submit written testimony; at the mock hearing, you will also deliver an oral version.

You are to play the role indicated by your initials on the following lists:

You should decide what your position on the bill is based on the role you are playing. You should write testimony that would correspondingly persuade the committee either to recommend the bill for passage or not, drawing on the experience and perspectives of your role. Any statistical information you include ought to be genuine, but you should feel free to invent relevant personal experiences.

You will be graded for your adherence to the following standards in your written testimony: