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Assembly to resume public-hearing transcripts

December 20, 2018

Missed a public hearing at the state Capitol, but want to know what happened? Next year it’s going to be easier to find out.

Legislative leaders have decided to once again have transcripts done for every public hearing that takes place during the 2019 legislative session.

It’s a service that had been available for years, but was discontinued in 2018 as legislative leaders looked to shave spending.

The monetary cost was $177,000 in 2017.

But the political cost was huge, as open-government advocates and lobbyists, attorneys and others who rely on the transcripts to better understand legislative intent campaigned to push leaders to reconsider.

Earlier this month, legislative leaders from both parties did.

“When the leaders and chief of staffs were talking, they decided that it was a service that needed to be resurrected,” said Larry Perosino, a spokesman for House Democrats, said during an interview. “When the cuts were made we heard some feedback as to why it was a helpful service to follow what was going on.”

Transcripts will be done for all the same legislative events that were done in 2017, he said.

The elimination of transcripts came as the legislature also cut funding for the state’s public affairs network, CT-N. The legislature recently resumed its relationship with CPAN, the non-profit operator of CT-N.

Gavel-to-gavel coverage of House and Senate sessions by CT-N will continue, as will more broadcasting of selected public hearings, press conferences and political events..

“It’s going to be done within the resources we have - which is less than the contract we had before,” Perosino said. “It’s not going to be as expansive as it was before. You will get the core programming.”

The new contract provides annual funding of $1.8 million for CT-N, down from $2.7 million before the old contract lapsed.

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