Court reporters take to Capitol Hill

 The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the country’s leading organization representing stenographic court reporters and captioners, announced that a contingency of 44 NCRA state affiliate association leaders and its national board of directors, representing 26 states as well as Canada, visited their respective legislatures on Capitol Hill March 4 to urge support for the Local Courthouse Safety Act and proposed legislation entitled the National Oath Act. The visit culminated a three-day Legislative Boot Camp program hosted by NCRA, March 2 to March 4, designed to provide advocacy training for the stenographic court reporting profession. 


 The Legislative Boot Camp program, developed by NCRA’s government relations department included a wide array of sessions that covered grassroots efforts, effective lobbying, communicating with Congressional staff, networking tips, and public relations, and provided attendees with a vast cache of skills and tools they can utilize to advocate on important issues for court reporters at the national, state, and local levels.

 “It is important for members of any profession to understand the legislative and regulatory process at the local, state, and national levels to ensure their interests remain protected when it comes to doing good business. The court reporting and captioning profession is no exception.” said NCRA President Nancy Varallo, RDR, CRR, a court reporter and owner of The Varallo Group in Worcester, Mass. 

The Local Courthouse Safety Act, S. 445, is bipartisan legislation intended to offer U.S. courthouses some additional assistance to increase public safety. Specifically, the proposed bill would allow courthouses to receive security equipment that is no longer being used from other federal agencies and allocate existing federal funding for courthouse security equipment and safety training for court security guards. Last session, the bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a voice vote but was held up in the Senate. At the beginning of a new Congressional session in January, NCRA’s government relations team was successful in getting the bill reintroduced in the Senate. 

The National Oath Act, which has not yet been introduced, would reduce or eliminate some of the notary regulations placed on court reporters in interstate matters. While the legislation protects the rights of states and state court reporting boards to set certification regulations and govern who can take a deposition in that state, it offers court reporters the flexibility to work in various states without requiring a notary from that state. This proposed legislation is not an interstate notary either as it solely allows a court reporter to swear in a witness, not to actually take the deposition.

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