Basic Template for Written & Oral Testimony
Here is the format for a casual Memorandum.
Include the following:
Your contact information (this information will become public)
The proposed legislation being addressed (for instance: HB 1151)
Your position on the Proposed Legislation
The facts that you have addressing the proposed legislation
Any legal citations that affect the proposed legislation
Any changes you might suggest, language, omissions, etc. If you make changes always give a reason why you are suggesting the proposed legislation be changed
Summary of your position on the proposed legislation
Sign and date if hard copy
An example is on the following pages
Name and Number of Proposed Legislation SB 5811
My Name and Contact Information:
14301-127th Ave SE
Your position on proposed legislation
FOR THE RECORD A MEMORANDUM OPPOSING SB 5811
Address the Chair and Committee: Mr. Chairman (or Madam Chair) and distinguished committee members. I would appreciate my testimony be entered into the record.
Name and why the committee should listen to you or your connection (expertise) on the bill
My name is Celeste Bishop. I operate a small non-commercial sustainable farm in Snohomish County. I represent small farms, and property owners in Washington and nationally. I do however engage with my business partner in an international value-added product business utilizing Snohomish County and Washington State products. In addition to farming I have been trained in emergency management at the county, state and federal levels. I have exercised and donated time during disaster situations including 9-11, the Nisqually earthquakes, floods, and recent storms. My expertise is in emergency planning (including animal plans), communications and Incident Command.
Facts, legal Citations, Concerns
My concerns on proposed SB 5811 are the following:
- The Legislatureâ€™s reckless, arbitrary, and capricious overuse of the emergency clause by attaching it to non-emergency legislation has seriously impaired the citizensâ€™ right to referendum
Example: Washington State has not provided documentation to the citizens of this state what emergency exists, the scope of the emergency, the estimated duration of the emergency, who the emergency would impact, the location or areas the emergency includes, why the emergency exists, what can citizenâ€™s to mitigate impact. In addition Washington State has failed to provide educational resources to the public on the nature of the emergency.
- We the people feel find it odd that an emergency clause is inserted into a provision to extend the Cattle Advisory Board.
- If this distinguished committee knows of an exigent animal emergency please inform us so that we might be proactive. The people may be left to believe that the USDA is attempting to promulgate a de facto mandatory implementation for cattle within this state via the interstate commerce clause of the federal constitution.
- We the people of Washington have not been informed of any exigent circumstances and are left to wonder if the so-called animal emergency is merely that the Cattle Advisory Board has sunset without any findings from their four projects, thus putting WSDA in jeopardy of default from their receipt of federal funds for these projects.
How much money? Whatâ€™s the deadline?
- The Cattle Advisory Board did not make their report to the legislature at the specified time and when they did finally make such a report it was not an official board. Hence, their recommendations are fraudulent due to untimely filing. In addition, the Cattle Advisory makes decisions for the cattle industry exclusively and does not have the authority to include other species in its mission to implement the NAIS. Furthermore, the Cattle Advisory Board did not release a report to the honorable Representatives and Senators according to the deadline date established by this Legislature.
- Washington has other viable animal breeds such as horses, hog, poultry, goat, sheep, llama, and alpaca which have not been included into formulating any identification or disease program. Small farms, hobbyists, interested parties such as realtors and title companies, feed companies were not requested to come to the table for discussion on issues that will impact them. This may violate the equal protection clause set forth in the 14th Amendment.
- Passage of this proposed legislation may deprive other segments of livestock industry of equal protection and representation under current federal and state law. This type of intentional discrimination has been thoroughly discredited by our courts.
- It is interesting to note that there is no definition of â€˜emergencyâ€™ within Chapter 16 of the Washington Code.
- We have valid concerns that due to the very nature of the Federal Cooperative Agreements signed in this matter that in fact the federal government has and is attempting to further supersede states rights with this proposed legislation.
Example: For instance the USDA/WSDA contract specifically states in the fine-print of SF 424B that to receive monies to implement the NAIS the State of Washington this state must agree to implement the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act etc, thereby introducing federal code into Washington law or regulation. Documentation on their implementation must be provided to the federal government on a quarterly basis.
What you want the Committee to do
For the foregoing reasons we oppose SB 5811 as it is written though we have no immediate opposition in itself to the Cattle Advisory Board.
Thank you and I would be happy to answer any questions
Provide any supporting attachments or documentation
(6)(a) “Emergency or disaster” as used in all sections of this chapter except RCW 38.52.430 shall mean an event or set of circumstances which: (i) Demands immediate action to preserve public health, protect life, protect public property, or to provide relief to any stricken community overtaken by such occurrences, or (ii) reaches such a dimension or degree of destructiveness as to warrant the governor declaring a state of emergency pursuant to RCW 43.06.010.
Perhaps a blurb from this story may pull the heartstrings of the committee http://www.readthehook.com/Stories/2006/10/05/COVER-boarSlaughter-F.doc.aspx
Since dogs, cats, turtles, etc commonly carry more human transmittable diseases than cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens etc perhaps we should also be including our house pets in this legislation.
Undersecretary Bill Hawkes told a Senate agriculture subcommittee that USDA prefers a voluntary ID system and that they plan to gather data from private groups to get the program started. He also said that USDA does not anticipate that federal funding will be provided for the ID program. (this will fall to the sate and the individuals)
While we realize a valid State and National concern for protection of the peoples food supply and the need for unhindered interstate commerce, the people also realize that to place undue burdens on their right to life, liberty and property not only goes against the founding documents of our nation but will ultimately press the people into various states of unhappiness, disgust, and contempt for the government they have placed into office to look after the affairs of the electors. It is not too hard to see the growing dissatisfaction with government developing in this great land, one only need keep current with the news; Poorly devised legislation or legislation with ulterior motives promoted by corporate interest is largely responsible for this current trend of unrest. Letâ€™s step back ladies and gentlemen, gather all the facts, and letâ€™s look at the larger picture â€“ itâ€™s equally our freedoms that are at stake as much as our food supply.