Politicians often say they love the press, but for many it’s a relationship of necessity. Politicos need journalists to broadcast their messages, to raise their profile, to sell their ideas. But as any reporter could tell you, politicians frequently complain that coverage of them misses the subtle depth of their positions, or the context of their statements or importance of their causes.

Is it any wonder then that Twitter has become so popular with California lawmakers? It lets legislators broadcast their unfiltered thoughts to the public, without some pesky reporter to get their quotes wrong.

Twitter also presents lawmakers with a platform to generate buzz around their causes. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, for example, has effectively used her account (@LorenaSGonzalez) to build awareness about her campaign to exempt diapers from the sales tax.

In fact, Twitter has become such a ubiquitous part of the Capitol experience that snarky, parody accounts have sprung up to mock individual members (@aToniAtkinsDiet) or the Legislature in general (@UnrulyUnruh, named after the former Assembly speaker and state treasurer Jesse Unruh).

One of the funniest accounts is @VanityCaucus, which critiques the fashion choices of lawmakers during floor sessions. (Its profile reads: “The intent of this Caucus is to encourage CA Assembly and Senate members to MAKE IT HOT. Always sarcastic, never intentionally mean. #ProceedWithCaution”)

All of San Diego’s state lawmakers have Twitter accounts, except Sen. Ben Hueso. If you’re interested in following your legislator, here they are:

• Assemblyman Brian Jones, @AsmBrianJones

• Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, @ConservtveWoman

• Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, @AsmRocky

• Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, @Bmaienschein

• Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, @toniatkins

• Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, @DrShirleyWeber

• Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, @LorenaSGonzalez

• Sen. Joel Anderson, @JoelAndersonCA

• Sen. Pat Bates, @SenatorPatBates

• Sen. Marty Block, @MartyBlock4SD39

Rah, Rah, Employment Law

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has been thinking about cheerleaders a lot lately. First, she introduced a bill to make cheerleading an official high school sport, a designation that would allow for new safety guidelines and athletic department funding.

Now, she’s also eyeing professional cheerleaders. This week, Gonzalez introduced a separate bill that would afford cheerleaders the protections of state wage laws. If you want to understand NFL cheerleaders’ current situation — they’re required to attend endless promotional events and must adhere to strict dress and conduct standards but make virtually no pay — read this fantastic ESPN Magazine piece.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, Gonzalez is a former cheerleader.

Quick Hits

• San Diego Unified and the state budget. (U-T)

• An interview with California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. (KQED)

• A Secretary of State employee is accused of bringing a loaded firearm to the office. (Sac Bee)

• The Legislature’s approval rating is up. (Contra Costa Times)

• Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson introduces bill to combat trespassing by drones. (S.F. Business Times)

• New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be the keynote address at the California Republican Convention in February. (Sac Bee)

• Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer will not run for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s seat. (L.A. Times)

• Sen. Mark Leno wants to restrict access to e-cigarettes. (S.F. Chronicle)

What’s Next?

Prediction: It hasn’t happened yet, but the first Sacramento Twitter scandal is coming, maybe in the next year. It’s used too frequently for someone not to screw up sometime. Oh, and Seahawks by three.

Brian Joseph

Brian Joesph is a Voice of San Diego contributor. He has covered the state capitol for more than seven years. You can reach him at bjoseph1@gmail.com.

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