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Designated Oregon Broadcasters Now “First Informers”

Those credentialed can get to station facilities during emergencies

“[I]ndividuals acting under authority of broadcasters” could now be considered first informers in Oregon.

That’s part of a bill signed into law by Oregon Governor Kate Brown last week.

Passed by the Oregon state legislature, HB 2210 allows designated broadcasters to enter areas during an emergency to maintain “essential broadcast equipment.”

The Oregon Association of Broadcasters, in collaboration with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, is tasked with developing a procedure to credential such first informers. That may lead to the development of a training program for broadcasters who want to be qualified as first informers; one of the goals would be to help train broadcasters to get their job done while staying out of the way of those performing emergency services, according to the bill.

The measure defines a broadcaster as someone who holds an FCC license, and maintaining “essential broadcast equipment” includes repairing or resupplying transmitters, generators or other essential gear at the station or transmitter site. Broadcasters designated as first informers can travel on roads in the designated emergency areas and have access to fuel, water, food, supplies or equipment needed to produce a broadcast or transmit a signal.

None of the broadcast supplies can be seized by an emergency service agency, according to the text.

HB 2210 is the 150th bill Brown has signed this year, out of 190+ so far.

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