Bill On Your Brain? Why You Need to Know About Red and Green Cards This Session

If you’ve been to the Capitol, you’ve probably been asked to put in a green or red card during a committee hearing. But what exactly are these cards and what do they actually mean?

It’s important to highlight that there are many factors that can sway a legislator or committee to vote a certain way on a bill. One of the most important is real life testimony; how that piece of legislature can affect a typical Louisiana citizen. Another way is to show your support or opposition by completing and turning in a House or Senate Witness Card. These cards are either Red, Green, or White and can be found within the committee hearing rooms, usually on the “hot” table located directly in front of the committee.

These witness cards are unique to which chamber the bill is in. For instance, if a House bill is being heard in a House committee, you want to be sure you are completing a House card. If a House bill is being heard in a Senate committee, you want to be sure you are completing a Senate card. Each card specifies whether it is a House or Senate Witness card. You’ll be able to identify that on the very top.

Once a card is filled in, it is required that they are handed into the sergeant at arms within the committee hearing room. The cards are read onto the record and heard by the committee.

Completing and turning in a green card means you are in support of the bill you have identified that will be heard that day within a committee. A red card means you are in opposition of the specified bill. A white card isn’t common unless you are a neutral expert who wishes to testify. On any card, however, you can indicate if you are willing to speak, either in support or opposition of the specific bill. If you are willing to speak, the Committee Chair will announce your name and allow you to speak at the table.

You can also send comments via email to: h-acrj@legis.la.gov

Voice of the Experienced (VOTE) is a Louisiana based organization founded and run by formerly incarcerated people. We are committed to restoring rights.