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Government Relations

NCRA VICTORY ON CAPITOL HILL

President Bush SignsTraining for Realtime Writers Language

On August 14, President Bush signed into law the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which was passed by both houses of Congress on July 31. Included in the Act is NCRA’s Training for Realtime Writers language, which creates a competitive grant program to train realtime writers to provide both captioned information and communication access for the 30 million Americans who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.

The passage of the bill marks a triumphant end to eight years of effort put in by NCRA and our partners in Congress. Many legislators, especially Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), have been advocates of this language since it was first introduced. NCRA has worked hand-in-hand with these lawmakers to ensure that this vital language reached the President’s desk.

“As a certified broadcast captioner and realtime writer who works with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community week in and week out, I laud Congress’s passage of the Higher Education Opportunity Act with the inclusion of the Training for Realtime Writers Act language,” said NCRA President Karen Yates, CRR, CBC, CCP. “Through my daily work, I see firsthand the needs of people with hearing loss and the difficulties that some in the community have in fully accessing communication. This funding will encourage more individuals to enter the realtime writing workforce and deliver positive changes to the 30 million Americans who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. On behalf of the 23,000 members of the National Court Reporters Association, we thank Congress and our congressional champions for moving this vital piece of legislation forward.

“Moreover, I’d like to thank the thousands of NCRA members who have worked diligently on this issue – visiting Capitol Hill, writing e-mails and letters, advocating for almost a decade. This is a great victory not only for people with hearing loss, but also for the profession and the association.” 

The passage of this legislation is a major step in ensuring equal access to information for those people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. In addition, this legislation enables the growth of the court reporting profession in order to keep up with the increasing demand for trained realtime court reporters.

Last updated August 14, 2008