SALT LAKE CITY -- Getting involved and hearing the debates of the General Session of the 59th Utah Legislature is just a click away on a computer or smartphone.
House and Senate floor debates, as well as committee meetings, are live-streamed daily and archived, which gives residents the opportunity to get involved, even in the last week of the session, from their homes, offices or in the park.
"My husband listens to the audio while in surgery whenever we're in session," said Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake.
Her husband is Dr. John C. Edwards, an orthopedic surgeon in Bountiful.
Edwards said her husband is not the only one who tunes in to find out what is going on at the Capitol. Friends, family and constituents listen to the floor and committee debates while at the office, sorting the laundry, carpooling or walking.
She gets e-mails, texts and phone calls during the session concerning bills she is sponsoring or about bills her followers are concerned about.
Edwards also e-mails a weekly newsletter to her constituents about her thoughts concerning the session, bills she is concerned about and issues her constituents may be concerned about.
The last newsletter Edwards e-mailed to her 1,100 constituents was sent out at 1 a.m. Tuesday.
What surprised Edwards was the response she received from one request she put "in the middle of it, right in the body of it," for opinions concerning a proposed increase in food tax.
"I was surprised at how quickly e-mails came back," Edwards said.
Within 10 hours she had received more than 50 e-mails from constituents who expressed their opinions about the proposed increase in food tax.
Edwards said she also has a page on Facebook and is now on Twitter for her constituents who are technologically savvy.
Joshua Parkinson, who owns Face Value Pages in Ogden, said more legislators are using social media to interact with their constituents, as well as conduct surveys on various issues. He has helped more than one set up pages on Facebook in order to connect with their constituents.
Keeping the public in the know is why legislators have links on the Utah Legislature, Senate and House of Representative websites. The Republican and Democrat parties also have links on their own websites to keep the public informed about what is happening.
On the Legislature home page, a resident can click on the names of bills and search under topics, senators or representatives to read bills online, hear the debates concerning bills, and learn who voted and how.
Senate majority leadership meetings at noon are live-streamed daily and archived for the general public to view at a later time.
House and Senate floor debates are also live-streamed daily and archived.
Liz Oldroyd, the Senate majority assistant, is in charge of setting up the video recorder and audio recorders for the Senate leadership media availability daily meetings.
Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, along with other senators, meets daily at noon with media representatives to answer questions about the issues of the day.
All anyone has to do is go to the Senate website and click on the digital site, to either watch the live video or hear the past audios.
As the session draws closer to an end, more people click on to watch, Oldroyd said.
Some days as few as four people will click on to watch, while other days more than 100 will click on, she said.
"This gives people a chance to hear and know what is going on."