Friday, March 28, 2008

Testifying at the State House

In the past two week's I've been up twice to testify on budgets at the House Finance Committee. Nope, didn't make major news. One concerned the extended gutting of Mental Health & Retardation. The first was gutting Medicaid.

Going to these hearings are way more fun than going to the dentist, going to court, or eating liver- NOT. I was lucky. I found free parking. For the first hearing I was more than an hr. early & got a seat. For the second I was only 15 min. early & got to test my flexibility by floor sitting. Evidently in the State House there is a folding chair shortage/crisis.

After arring by the 2 pm start time, you wait. Few on the House Finance Committee were actually in attendance. At the second hearing the Chair left after the first hour. Get the message? I finally finished early evening for one & late afternoon for the other. I did not submit prepared text. So unless you were there or watching the t.v., there is no record of it.

You sign a sheet when you go in indicating that you want to speak (and whom you are representing if applicable). I was with NAMI. Yes, please do let's cut anything for those suffering with severe mental illness. More street people is just what we need & there's always room in jail & the ACI. There's not much left to take from them that has not already been stripped away. And then let's blame them for it. After all, they're either too delusional or too ashamed to show up & complain about it. It's also important that they be ignorant of any services, much less have any advocacy whatsoever. More throw-away people. Homeless people living on the streets in the wealthiest country the world has ever known. Shameful.

Speaking order taken is at the Chair's discretion. Now, we can figure out a system at deli counters & Chili's to accomodate customers, but at the State House there is the floor & a scarcity of chairs. The snack bar is TINY with ?2 chairs & 2 tables. Rather makes me think that we are not really relevant. Or at least not very welcome. So get there early, hope for free parking, & bring your own entertainment. I'd also suggest writing your presentation & summarizing in 1-2 min. Please, don't say that you're going to be short & ramble (over 5-10 min.). NO ONE will appreciate it and you're really not all that entertaining.
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