First Informer Broadcaster Legislation Passes

Jim Dalke, CPBE, Editor – The Washington State Legislature has passed the First Informer Broadcaster Bill. The legislation is now on Governor Jay Inslee’s desk for his signature.

The bill is like the Oregon State First Informer Bill that was passed in 2015 and gives broadcasters access to their facilities during an emergency to refuel generators and repair damaged equipment, for example, even if the area is off limits to others.

The bill prohibits the seizure or confiscation of a vehicle, fuel, food, water, or other essentials brought into an area affected by an emergency or disaster by a first informer broadcaster.

Mark Allen, former President and CEO of the Washington State Association of Broadcasters, has been working on the legislation since hurricane Katrina in 2005 when a truck loaded with fuel for Biloxi TV stations emergency generators was confiscated by government authorities.

Keith Shipman of the WSAB says the association will be implementing the credentialing program after the legislation is signed by Governor Inslee.