Lawmakers seek to limit scope of public affairs network

The Connecticut General Assembly is seeking to reduce the scope of the cable TV and online public affairs network that covers the legislature and other parts of state government.

The Joint Committee on Legislative Management, made up of the top leaders of the General Assembly, has issued a request for proposals from broadcast and television entities interested in providing predominantly gavel-to-gavel coverage of the legislature. Responses are due May 17.

Gavel-to-gavel coverage of the House and Senate sessions would be the top priority, followed in order by public hearings, legislative committee meetings, news conferences at the state Capitol complex, judicial programming and executive branch programming. The request for proposals specifically notes that educational materials, coverage of public events outside the three branches of government, produced coverage, such as election night coverage, will not be part of the required base programming.

The Connecticut Network, or CT-N, is currently managed by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network and its contract is about to expire. The network now receives $2.7 million in state funds annually. Under the request, the next operator would receive about $300,000 less.

The Connecticut Public Affairs Network, which also provides educational programming at the Old State House in Hartford, can respond to the proposal request.

Adam Joseph, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats, said lawmakers want to ensure limited state resources are spent on legislative coverage and not original programming, adding how the Connecticut Public Affairs Network has been increasing the amount of original programming it produces.

"That is not part of their core mission," he said. "In these times of limited resources, it should be focused on fulfilling its contract."

A message was not immediately returned by a Connecticut Public Affairs Network spokesman.