Michigan court reporters continue decades-long battle for fair pay

The Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters (MAPCR), Michigan Electronic Court Reporters Association (MECRA), and Michigan Association of Freelance Court Reporters (MAFCR) have banded together in their efforts to increase Michigan’s page rate, which has not increased since 1986.

Court reporters in the State of Michigan are paid a per-page rate which is set by the legislature.  This rate has not been increased in 38 years.  Michigan's current page rate of $1.75 per page is one of the lowest page rates in the nation. Neighboring states of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio all have page rates in excess of $4.00 per page.

House Bill 5046, sponsored by Nate Shannon (D-District 58), would increase Michigan’s page rate to $3.75 per page.  The bill passed the Michigan House of Representatives on November 1, 2023, in a 104-6 vote.  Despite overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, the bill has stalled awaiting a hearing in front of the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee.

Transcripts are essential to the judicial process in Michigan.  Court reporters are guardians of the record who have continued to provide an invaluable service to the state’s court system without fair compensation for decades. They are required to produce transcripts within statutory time limits or face penalties such as fines or loss of certification.

According to SCAO, there are fewer than 1,400 court reporters licensed to prepare transcripts in Michigan.  The low per-page rate has caused a shortage of court reporters willing to work at the 1986 rates, and those that continue to produce transcripts are suffering from severe caseload fatigue. In 2020, there were 248 registered court reporting firms in Michigan.  As of February 14, 2024, that number has dwindled to 84 firms. This shortage affects appellate courts, court administration, counsel, parties, the public, and anyone navigating Michigan courts.  

Court reporters call on all Michiganders, but particularly those in the legal community, to express their support for the passage of House Bill 5046 by contacting their senators and urging them to pass this legislation into law quickly.  

For more information visit www.mecra.info/legislativedreamteam2023