Capitol Beat Offers In-Depth Coverage of 2013 Legislature

By Gregory Nickerson

This Tuesday the 2013 Wyoming Legislature starts its marathon 40-day general session. From now until early March 90 legislators, plus a sizable host of lobbyists and reporters, will turn the capitol into a hive of activity.

WyoFile’s new Capitol Beat blog will cover the entire session. The Capitol Beat is WyoFile’s page for short updates and weekly features with in-depth coverage of the issues.

In tandem with Capitol Beat, we’ll provide Facebook and Twitter updates (@WyoFile and @GregNickersonWY). If you haven’t joined Twitter yet, give it a try this session to keep informed and share items that interest you.

Much of the deal-crafting in Cheyenne happens in committee meetings that citizens don’t often attend. The real story of the session is these conversations between small groups of legislators and lobbyist proponents and detractors.

WyoFile will focus on these meetings to provide behind-the-scenes perspective. Sometimes we’ll report on how key issues are shaping up before they hit the floor.

WyoFile will also carry the live stream of floor debates, and special events like Wednesday’s State of the State address from Gov. Matt Mead. As always, the News Reader on WyoFile’s home page offers a fresh list of links each morning to the most relevant statewide news from other media outlets.

WyoFile’s news coverage of the state legislature is independent and non-partisan. Capitol Beat will focus on providing straight news and context with the goal of informing readers about issues that matter to Wyoming. We want to help citizens be engaged in the process wherever they stand on the issues.

As of January 5, lawmakers had introduced 83 House Bills and 73 Senate Files, for 156 pieces of legislation in total. (To see all the bills, click here.)

Lawmakers will keep up a harried pace to address these proposals in the next eight weeks. Workdays often start at 7 a.m. and go until the evening, when lawmakers depart from the statehouse to attend various receptions and events.

What’s on the plate for this session? Over the past month, Geoff O’Gara and I produced WyoFile’s Legislature 2013 series to dig into the most important topics that arose in the interim. We covered budget cuts, education reform, and the University of Wyoming. We also looked at license fee increases from the Game and Fish Department, social issues, and the proposed gas tax increase to fund Wyoming highways. We expect these issues to occupy much of legislators’ attention this session. But there will still be a few surprises.

From time to time, Capitol Beat will carry guest pieces and opinion columns from a variety of points of view. If you would like to submit an opinion column for consideration, please contact us at editor@wyofile.com.

WyoFile’s legislative reporting is funded in part by grants from the John S. and James Knight Foundation’s Community Information Challenge in collaboration with the Wyoming Community Foundation. We also received grants from the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation. We also rely on donations from our readers, so if you value the quality of reporting at WyoFile please consider making a tax-deductible donation.

If you’d like to weigh in on the legislative debate, see WyoFile’s guide to contacting your legislators for ways to make your voice heard in the 2013 session.

Gregory Nickerson is the government and policy reporter for WyoFile. Contact him at greg@wyofile.com.

Gregory Nickerson

Gregory Nickerson worked as government and policy reporter for WyoFile from 2012-2015. He studied history at the University of Wyoming. Follow Greg on Twitter at @GregNickersonWY and on www.facebook.com/GregoryNickersonWriter/

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