Getting staff from public agencies to go on the record

The best workaround solution in most states is to have your legislative champion (bill sponsors) and/or committee chair formally invite that agency staffer to testify to provide information pertaining to the policy. They will usually only be able to provide data, not opinion, but if the data supports your case, you want them to testify on the record. This can be critical, for instance, if the governor in your state opposes your legislation but the health department has data about eating disorders among young people by race and ethnicity. One way of getting that important data into the public record with the authority of government behind it is to have an agency staff person present that data at a public hearing. But you need to compel them to do so with a formal invitation from the committee and/or bill sponsor. Remember, your job is to make it easy for others to give you what you want. If you want an agency staffer to testify, make it easy by having them formally invited to testify. Make sure to get your request in early because there can be a lot of red tape in the approval process, but it’s worth it to get a public agency on record to provide context to the policy you are pursuing.