Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 104

    February Session, 2016

 

*_____SB00104GAE___032316____*

AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE STATE CIVIC NETWORK.

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

Section 1. Subdivision (45) of subsection (a) of section 16-1 of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2016):

(45) ["The Connecticut Television Network" means the General Assembly's state-wide twenty-four-hour state public affairs programming service, separate and distinct from community access channels] "The State Civic Network" means the state-wide cable programming channel and Internet web site established under section 2 of this act that provides (A) live and archived coverage of state government and civic affairs, and (B) access to information about the processes and actions of the legislative, executive and judicial branches;

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2016) (a) There is established a State Civic Network to provide, through a dedicated, basic tier cable programming channel and an Internet web site, television coverage, live transmission of video and audio material over the Internet and digital video archives of proceedings impacting the state, including, but not limited to: (1) Legislative meetings, hearings and sessions; (2) arguments before the Supreme Court, Appellate Court and Superior Court; (3) executive state agency hearings and meetings; (4) public policy discussions, debates, press conferences and civic events; (5) election coverage and coverage related to the electoral process; and (6) studio productions and educational videos providing additional information on the working of the government of the state.

(b) The State Civic Network shall be managed by a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that is funded by subscribers of community antenna television systems pursuant to 47 USC 531 et seq. and selected in accordance with section 3 of this act. Such organization shall: (1) Provide the staffing, institutional expertise and board governance to operate the State Civic Network in a nonpartisan and independent manner; (2) establish, maintain and revise as necessary operating agreements with each branch of government; (3) maintain the State Civic Network's operational and editorial independence in a manner consistent with the provisions of such operating agreements; (4) establish, maintain and revise as necessary carriage distribution and retransmission agreements with appropriate video programming services, including, but not limited to, cable television, direct broadcast satellite and broadband video; and (5) provide, operate and maintain all equipment and infrastructure needed for the programming, engineering and distribution of State Civic Network programming.

(c) Each community antenna television company and each multichannel video programming distributor shall include the State Civic Network in its basic service package.

(d) As used in this section, "multichannel video programming distributor" means a multichannel video programming distributor, as defined in 47 CFR 76.1300, as amended from time to time, and includes an owner of an open video system, as defined in 47 CFR 76.1500, as amended from time to time.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2016) (a) The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority shall issue a request for proposals and subsequently assign responsibility for managing the State Civic Network established under section 2 of this act for a period of ten years to a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization located in the state that the authority determines to be the most qualified, based on the following criteria: (1) The organization's performance and experience in providing gavel-to-gavel coverage of state government proceedings; (2) the operating plan and technology plan submitted by the organization for providing coverage of state government proceedings; (3) the organization's proposed budget, including expenses for salaries, consultants, attorneys and other professionals; (4) the quality and quantity of the programming to be created, promoted, facilitated or continued by the organization; (5) the organization's procedures to ensure compliance with federal and state law, including the regulations of Connecticut state agencies; and (6) any other criteria determined to be relevant by the authority. At the conclusion of the initial ten-year term, and every ten years thereafter, the authority shall hold a hearing, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, concerning the ability of the organization previously selected to continue its responsibility for managing the State Civic Network. In its decision following such a hearing, the authority may assign the responsibility for management of the State Civic Network to another organization or the previously selected organization in accordance with the procedure set forth in this subsection.

(b) If an organization assigned responsibility for managing the State Civic Network ceases to provide such management, such organization shall transfer its network-related assets to the successor organization assigned such responsibility or, if no successor organization is assigned such responsibility, to another nonprofit organization within the state selected by the authority.

(c) All assets related to the operation of the State Civic Network that are owned by the state of Connecticut on June 30, 2016, shall be transferred to the organization assigned responsibility for managing the State Civic Network not later than ninety days after the authority's issuance of a decision under subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2016) (a) There is established a State Civic Network Advisory Council. The council shall consist of the following members: (1) One appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives; (2) one appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate; (3) one appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives; (4) one appointed by the minority leader of the Senate; (5) four appointed by the Governor; and (6) four appointed by the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

(b) All initial appointments to the council shall be made not later than September 1, 2016, and shall terminate on June 30, 2017, June 30, 2018, June 30, 2019, and June 30, 2020, respectively, as set forth in subsection (d) of this section, regardless of when the initial appointment was made.

(c) The Governor shall select the chairperson of the council from among the members of the council. Such chairperson shall schedule the first meeting of the council. The council shall meet at least twice a year.

(d) Appointed members of the council shall serve for four-year terms which shall commence on July first in the year of the appointment, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section and except that members first appointed shall have the following terms: (1) One member appointed by the Governor, one member appointed by the Chief Justice and the member appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, who shall each initially serve a term of one year; (2) one member appointed by the Governor, one member appointed by the Chief Justice and the member appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, who shall each initially serve a term of two years; (3) one member appointed by the Governor, one member appointed by the Chief Justice and the member appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall each initially serve a term of three years; and (4) one member appointed by the Governor, one member appointed by the Chief Justice and the member appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, who shall each initially serve a term of four years. Members shall continue to serve until their successors are appointed.

(e) Any vacancy shall be filled by the appointing authority. Any vacancy occurring other than by expiration of term shall be filled for the balance of the unexpired term.

(f) The members of the council shall serve without compensation.

(g) The council shall have the following powers and duties: (1) To serve as a liaison between the nonprofit organization responsible for managing the State Civic Network and the executive, judicial and legislative branches; (2) to obtain from any executive, judicial or legislative department, board, commission or other agency of the state such assistance and data as necessary and available to carry out the purposes of this section; (3) to accept any gift, donation or bequest for the purpose of performing the duties described in this section; and (4) to perform such other acts as may be necessary and appropriate to carry out the duties described in this section.

Sec. 5. Subsection (i) of section 16-331 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2016):

(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (b) and (d) of this section, the authority shall not renew a franchise for a term of more than five years if the authority determines that the person, association or corporation, during the term of the prior franchise, has substantially failed to (1) deal effectively with consumer requests, complaints and billing or service questions and disputes; (2) provide quality and diversity of programming; (3) maintain fair and reasonable rates for basic and extended basic service, and associated equipment, taking into consideration the quality of service and programming provided to consumers; (4) provide quality community access programming, including public access, educational access, governmental access programming and the [Connecticut Television] State Civic Network or its successor; or (5) meet commitments for service extension to customers within the franchise area. Nothing in this subsection shall authorize the authority to set specific rates for service or associated equipment.

Sec. 6. Section 2-71x of the general statutes is repealed. (Effective July 1, 2016)

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2016

16-1(a)(45)

Sec. 2

July 1, 2016

New section

Sec. 3

July 1, 2016

New section

Sec. 4

July 1, 2016

New section

Sec. 5

July 1, 2016

16-331(i)

Sec. 6

July 1, 2016

Repealer section

GAE

Joint Favorable Subst.