Posted at: 01/07/2013 6:44 PM
By: Katie Eldred
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The Minnesota legislative session opens Tuesday. This year you may be able to keep up on the capitol chatter in more ways than one.
It's no longer necessary to sit in the capitol balcony to get all your legislative updates.
"I use a lot of social media," said Senator Carla Nelson.
Senator Nelson of Rochester says social media has become a simple way to keep constituents informed.
"The strength of our government depends on informed, involved, and invested citizens."
And Senator Nelson is not the only one using social media.
"I use twitter and have for three years now," said representative Kim Norton.
Representative Norton of Rochester says each year more and more legislators are sending out updates from the capitol.
"It allows real time communication, what's happening right now at the capital and in committee," said Rep. Norton.
Several hash tags can be used to follow the Minnesota legislature. The main one is #mnleg.
"The wonderful thing about social media is that you can add links and photos, so people can delve into it as little or as much as they like," said Sen. Nelson.
It's not just social media that is changing communication at the capital. The Minnesota legislature recently updated their website making it easier to stream live votes and discussions, as well as learn about specific bills, and keep track of the schedule.
"It affects their lives and so when they are informed they can communicate about what they like or what they don't like about what's happening," said Rep. Norton.
Both Sen. Nelson and Rep. Norton hope more and more people use these tools to stay informed this session
"It's always exciting to start out a new session with new colleagues new legislators," said Sen. Nelson.
"It’s time to start working on issues for the constituents," said Rep. Norton.
You can follow the nonpartisan Minnesota senate and house on Twitter @MNhouseinfo and @MNsenateinfo.
We've also posted a link to the Minnesota legislature web site under links.