CTN, the incredibly expanding, 15-yr-old propaganda arm of the General Assembly, in line for $6 million, up from $2.5 M

What is the price of vanity?

Yesterday, in the heat of committee deadlines, the Blogster had to flee the Legislative Office Building, where he was juggling several meetings at the same time, to type some lines of content for the digital universe and then the Hearst Connecticut Newspapers. But he wanted to follow the depths of the Judiciary Committee’s public hearing, so he turned the TV in the Press Room, high in the eaves of the Capitol, to LOB Room 2-C. There was no picture, but enough audio to figure out what was going on. No picture, you ask? Yes, CTN, the propaganda arm of the Legislature, has disembodied cameras in each meeting room and mobile crews that follow myriad events off-campus, Most recently Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s appearance at East Haven’s Cosey Beach attracted only a pair of reporters from the Capitol, but a full CTN crew, who recorded the news conference for later.

It’s no secret that over the last seven years, committee meetings and sessions of the House and Senate have expanded in length because too many lawmakers with nothing to say have felt compelled to stand up and prove it. So here we have the Finance Committee’s agenda for this afternoon, where the panel is scheduled to vote on a bill that would increase CTN’s $2.5 million budget to a whopping $6 million. Then, maybe, will they turn on the cameras that are permanently set up in LOB meeting rooms? Plans include more than doubling the 29.5 employees to 80 and archive events at UConn.

During the Finance Committee debate, Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, who is not running for re-election, was one of the few lawmakers not to gush over CTN’s general service. “I’m concerned that their plans are a little grandiose,” she said.

Here’s the bill:


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 2-71x of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

For the fiscal year ending June 30, [2007] 2014, and each fiscal year thereafter, the Comptroller shall segregate [two million five hundred thousand] six million dollars of the amount of the funds received by the state from the tax imposed under chapter 211 on public service companies providing community antenna television service in this state. The moneys segregated by the Comptroller shall be deposited with the Treasurer and made available to the Office of Legislative Management to defray the cost of providing the citizens of this state with Connecticut Television Network coverage of state government deliberations and public policy events.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2014) Any gross operating revenues to the state from the operation of keno, as defined in section 12-801 of the general statutes, shall, after subtraction of all sums distributed pursuant to an agreement as provided in section 12-806 of the general statutes, be distributed to municipalities of the state as follows: (1) Fifty per cent of such revenues shall be distributed to municipalities on a per capita basis, as determined by the most recent federal decennial census, and (2) fifty per cent of such revenues shall be distributed to distressed municipalities, as defined in subsection (b) of section 32-9p of the general statutes.