How to Testify at a Public Hearing
What is a public hearing?
Public hearings are held as part of the public inquiry process. This provides residents with the opportunity to discuss issues with community leaders and policymakers (city council, mayor, commissioners, etc.) in a public forum.
Any organization or person can attend a hearing, either to testify or simply to observe the proceedings.
Additional information on City Council meetings and how to participate can be found on the City Clerk’s website. You’ll also find weekly agendas, recordings and journals of past meetings.
What is testimony?
Testimony is the action of speaking on the record in front of a public hearing.
Testimony is an effective and powerful way to help policymakers understand how an issue, policy or situation affects residents.
Public testimony also gives you the opportunity to show your support or opposition for a policy or initiative.
When giving testimony, you may only speak about items on the agenda or you will be called “out of order” and asked to stop.
How to Testify Online
For public hearings in Omaha, you can email written testimony directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include your name, address, city council district, the topic of your statement, and whether you are an “opponent” or “proponent,” then write your testimony.
How to Testify In-Person
Public hearings on city matters are held at the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center at 1819 Farnam St. at 2 p.m.
When you attend a public hearing, you should show up a little early so you can sign in to speak. You’ll need to provide your name and address to sign up.
When your item comes up, you will be given 3 minutes to address the council. Before beginning your testimony, state your name, address, item number you’re speaking on, and whether you’re a proponent or opponent.
You must address the City Council and not the audience. You may not ask questions of the council.
You may speak on more than one item within the agenda. Repeat the process with your name and address each time you’re testifying.
If you cannot testify at a public hearing, you can still contact your local representative about policies and initiatives that are important to you.
Visit the City Council website to locate your Omaha City Council representative and view their contact phone number and email address.