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Providing Legislative Testimony

NASW testifies at the State House in favor of our Legislative Agenda. We encourage legislative liaisons to come to hearings and make their voice heard on issues that make a difference in the lives of social workers and the clients served by social workers.

Who Can Testify?

Every bill that is filed in the State of Massachusetts must have a hearing. Hearings are open to the public and anyone may testify. NASW often works in coalitions to create panels for hearings. Presenting panels at a hearing allows for a small group of 2-4 people to testify together before a Committee. Panels are often balanced and can consist of experts, advocates, consumers, and of course social workers.

What Can I Testify About?

A legislative hearing is just one of the first steps a bill must complete in order to become a law. A public hearing gives everyone the opportunity to speak in favor or against a bill that is being heard. Once a bill has had a legislative hearing, the Committee then meets in an Executive Session to discuss the bill. The Committee will then produce a report for the bill that it is either favorable, unfavorable or ordered to a study. If a bill receives a favorable vote it will continue on in the process. Otherwise, it will not move any farther and you need to start planning your strategy for the next legislative session.

Where Can I Testify?

Legislative hearings are held in various hearing rooms and occasionally in Gardner Auditorium in the State House. NASW is located across the street from the State House at 14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA. Prior to a hearing NASW staff are in communication with members who wish to testify. The day of the hearing, NASW staff meet with members to help prepare them for the experience and to accompany them to the hearing. Once there, NASW staff take care of organizing the panels, submitting the written testimony, and answering any additional questions members might have.

Why Should I Testify?

Testifying is a strong advocacy modality. Several NASW-MA members summarized their experience testifying for the first time, and spoke to how beneficial and empowering the experience is: 

In terms of testifying for the first time, I would say it’s important to show up for these hearings and have your voice heard. The more you can speak in direct and meaningful ways about the challenges facing the social work profession, the more you can make real change. It seems that some people think that their voice doesn’t matter, which is really a tragedy, because issues that need our attention get overlooked and our voices are needed now more than ever.

- Caitlin Scott-DeLesky

I was very glad to have been part of the panel to testify on behalf of an NASW prioritized bill. This was my first experience and it was one I would recommend to others. Going in with NASW made the experience very easy. NASW staff had done all the preparation and met with those of us testifying to let us know what to expect. I felt very supported in stepping into this new territory. I felt it definitely made an impact on the legislators to hear from NASW membership rather than just the staff. I was very glad to be a part of NASW-MA in action!

- Marilyn Garland

I was happy to be given the opportunity to state my personal case before the Joint Committee on Higher Education. The Committee understood how vital the work that we do is for the greater good of our communities and the Commonwealth and I am happy to see that the Committee valued the voices of social workers who testified.

- Judith Maloney Boyle

Ready to Testify?

Contact the Chapter's Political Director for next steps:

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