Editorial - How to follow the LegislatureWith the Minnesota Legislature now in session – for those not paying attention, it convened on Tuesday – now is a good time for citizens to find out how they can follow their decisions and offer their input.
With the Minnesota Legislature now in session – for those not paying attention, it convened on Tuesday – now is a good time for citizens to find out how they can follow their decisions and offer their input.
There is a lot on the line this session, including determining a two-year budget that is expected to top $37 billion.
The Echo Press will once again be providing readers with legislative news on a regular basis. The newspaper is fortunate to have two Forum Communications correspondents at the Capitol, Don Davis and Danielle Killey, who are in constant contact with the Echo Press.
We print their legislative stories that have a strong local interest, such as new laws targeting zebra mussels or measures that are authored by legislators representing Douglas County. Their daily updates, blogs and notebooks about the session appear on our online site.
Here are some other ways to stay in the legislative loop:
ON THE WEB
• Legislative website: www.leg.state.mn.us
• Find out who represents you: tinyurl.com/MNLegWho
• Calendar for all legislative meetings: tinyurl.com/MNLegCal
• How a bill becomes law: tinyurl.com/MNBillLaw
• Follow activity on bills: tinyurl.com/MNLegBills
• Bill signings and vetoes: tinyurl.com/MNBillGov
• House Public Information Office: tinyurl.com/MNHouseInfo
• Ways to follow committees and other legislative activity: tinyurl.com/MNLegLists
• Legislative television and webcast schedules, stations and audio and video archives as well as Session Daily stories about the House: www.leg.state.mn.us, click on “multimedia”
• Summaries and other information about bills and government issues: tinyurl.com/MNHouseResearch and tinyurl.com/MNSenateResearch
• Legislative background from Legislative Reference Library: www.leg.state.mn.us/lrl
• Mobile devices may automatically call up a mobile legislative site (www.leg.state.mn.us), but if not, there is a mobile link at the top of the page.
• Self-updated list of Minnesota political, government and media tweeters: mnpoltwitter.pbworks.com
• Tweets compiled from politicians, press and others: tweetmn.com
• Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau: Blog, capitolchat.areavoices.com; Twitter, @CapitolChatter; Facebook, www.facebook.com/CapitolChatter
—Printed directories with legislators, committees and other information will be available in the House Public Information Office and Senate secretary’s office in February. Until then, directories are on the House and Senate websites (www.leg.state.mn.us).
—The Senate and House staff telephones to answer questions about the process of passing bills, the status of legislation and other questions. The Senate numbers are (651) 651-296-0504 and 1-888-234-1112. To contact the House, call (651) 296-2146 or 1-800-657-3550.
Here is contact information for the five local legislators that represent parts of Douglas County:
• Mary Franson (R), House District 8B, 211 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155; (651) 296-3201. E-mail: email@example.com
• Jay McNamar (DFL), House District 12A, 431 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155; (651) 296-4929. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Paul Anderson (R), House District 12B, 225 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155; (651) 296-4317. E-mail: email@example.com
• Bill Ingebrigtsen (R), Senate District 8, 143 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155-1206; (651) 297-8063. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Torrey Westrom (R), Senate District 12, 107 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155-1206; (651) 296-3826. E-mail: email@example.com
We encourage all Douglas County residents to take a more active role in following the issues the Legislature will debate in 2013. The success of our elected leaders hinges on what happens next. Do we want a citizenry that’s apathetic, disconnected and cynical or constituents who are active, informed and engaged?