It can be hard to stay on top of the flurry of information coming out of the legislature. How can you weed through the rhetoric and slice through the noise? What are the best resources out there to get timely, up-to-date information about what is moving, what is stalled and what fireworks happen each day at the Capitol?
WV Public Broadcasting, Legislature Live and The Legislature Today
WV Public Broadcasting undertakes a massive effort each year to cover the State Legislature. This year, Public Broadcasting is working with the State Legislature to provide video coverage of the Senate and House floor debates each day. You can watch these debates in real time each day at 11am on the Legislature’s live stream page. (Mac users beware though – the software is not supported on mac desktops and laptops. You can watch on your iphone or ipad though. Windows users have no problem.)
You can also listen to audio of the floor sessions and of daily committee meetings at the Legislature Live website. The same technology restrictions apply.
If you don’t have time to listen to the floor sessions in the middle of each day, or you are looking for a highlights reel of each day, The Legislature Today is the program for you. Hosted by Ashton Marra and produced by Beth Vorhees, The Legislature Today is a remarkable half-hour daily news program covering the major activity at the Senate and House each day. It’s available on WV Public Broadcasting’s webpage as a daily podcast or their television channel as a nightly show.
The Charleston Daily Mail maintains a useful daily blog called Capitol Notebook. Legislative reporters Whitney Burdette and Joel Ebert post regular updates about movement of key bills and other activity in the legislature. It’s a great resource to help you keep an ear to the ground at the Capitol.
The Statehouse Beat
The Statehouse Beat by Phil Kabler in the WV Gazette is also a great insider resource on the Legislature and general political dealings around the state. The Gazette’s website does not have a single dedicated page for these articles, and we have found it incredibly difficult to use the paper’s search engine to find Statehouse Beat articles. The easiest way to find these articles is in the Sunday hard copy edition of the Gazette each week.
Finally, the main name in Legislative coverage for much of the state is Hoppy Kercheval at WV MetroNews. Hoppy hosts a daily video and radio show from the State Capitol during the legislative session and interviews a huge variety of legislators, lobbyists and advocates on topics that are of relevance to the Legislature. Each weekday from 10-12, you can tune in to Talkline to hear about the latest legislative hubbub according to Hoppy and MetroNews. Hoppy also writes a daily blog during the session called Hoppy’s Commentary which sometimes provides useful information about bills of note.
These are some of the tools we use to stay on top of the hubbub at the Legislature. Now you have them for your toolbox too! Let us know what other resources you think are good to keep track of legislative activity.