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October 21, 2014

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LEGISLATURE 2013:

Want a real-time window to the Legislature? Follow our Twitter guide

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Cathleen Allison

The Nevada State Legislature building is shown in Carson City, Nev., Thursday, March 31, 2005.

Twitter transformed the Legislative Building two years ago.

Lawmakers sitting in committee took cues from tweeters on what questions to ask witnesses and preened before supporters.

Once-closeted end-of-session conference committees — in which all manner of dastardly legislative amending goes on in near private — were blasted to the public.

Constituents, activists and the just plain curious injected themselves into debates over taxes, gun control and education.

Twitter even caught a lawmaker sleeping through a major tax hearing.

In short, the cozy, insulated bubble that once enshrined lawmakers 450 miles away from the state’s largest population center popped.

So as the 2013 Legislature opens, here’s a handy guide to who to follow and how to participate:

The journalists

The Nevada capitol press corps has become adept at tweeting. For real-time live tweeting from committee rooms, breaking news and snarky discourse add the following to your Twitter feed:

• Independent political journalist and commentator Jon Ralston: @ralstonreports

• Veteran Associated Press scribe Sandra Chereb and her Carson City sidekick Matt Woolbright: @sandrachereb and @reportermatt

• For a Northern Nevada perspective and endlessly entertaining Twitter experience, Reno Gazette-Journal reporter Ray Hagar: @RGJRayHagar

• News Channel 3’s conservative political journalist Elizabeth Crum: @elizcrum

• Don’t forget the Sun’s Carson City crew: @schwartznews, @amdoughman and @anjeanettedamon

The lawmakers

Some lawmakers are either cautious tweeters or let their staff do the tweeting for them. Others just let it rip. Here’s a list of those who don’t seem to hide behind messages while tweeting:

• To get a window into the mind of one of Nevada’s more liberal lawmakers, check out Sen. Tick Segerblom, who doesn’t really seem to have a filter: @tsegerblom

• Sen. Debbie Smith, the legislative leader who many say will be the key to bringing the session to a successful close, often lets her thoughts and opinions be known: @sendebbiesmith

• One of the more informal tweeters of the bunch, and one who also doesn’t seem to be careful about his filter, is Sen. Kelvin Atkinson: @katkinson702

• A thoughtful and often blunt tweeter, Sen. Ben Kieckhefer: @ben_kieckhefer

• The Republican Assembly leader is relatively new to Twitter but is an entertaining part of the conversation: @pathickeynevada

• The other legislative leaders can be found here: @modenisnv, @thegachair and @senmroberson

The others

• The secretary of the Senate is often full of interesting trivia and factoids: @nvsecsenate

• The executive director of the Senate Republican caucus is entertaining and blunt: @jodistephens

• Want partisan, sometimes profane, bomb throwers? Liberal Laura Martin and conservative Chuck Muth at your service: @laurakmm and @chuckmuth

• One of Nevada politics' most prolific tweeter offering insight to both his professional, personal and cage-fighting lives: @rossjmiller

Want to join the fun?

If you want to join the conversation, or simply turn on the fire hose of tweets from the Nevada Legislature, it’s as simple as one hashtag: #nvleg

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  1. Orrrr, you could just hang out at the local eaterys with bars in them and watch the lobbyist wine and dine the politicians and make all the deals to suit thier own purpose.