Illinois ‘First Informer Act’ Now Law

The measure ensures training and planning for the state's broadcasters responding to disasters.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed into law a bill that ensures Illinois broadcasters and cable operators the emergency credentials necessary to gain access to their operations and recognizes the importance in allowing the delivery of fuel necessary to power their facilities’ emergency generators during times of disasters.

The “First Informer Broadcasters Act,” sponsored by Illinois State Representative John Bradley and Illinois State Senators Antonio Munoz and Kirk Dillard, passed 114-0 in the House early last spring, and by a vote of 50-0 in the Senate this January. With the stroke of the governor’s pen, the act becomes effective immediately.

“The governor’s support in signing the bill confirms the spirit of cooperation, mutual respect, and great working relationship that already exists between local broadcasters and Illinois’ Emergency Management and Law Enforcement agencies,” said Dennis Lyle, president-CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) following news of the governor’s signing.

“Illinois’ brave first responders have always known they can depend on their dedicated local broadcasters to assist them in disseminating critical information to the masses, regardless the disaster or emergency,” Lyle added.  “This legislation assures our broadcasters can keep generators fueled, and stations operational, in times of disasters, allowing them to do what they best; keeping the public informed.”

The IBA now begins the process of working with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in identifying and creating a training curriculum that broadcast and cable operator personnel will have to complete before earning emergency credentials.

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