Action Alert - Training for Realtime Writer's Act
Republican Study Committee proposes cutting funding for court reporting schools
On January 20, 2011, the Republican Study Committee, headed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), proposed the Spending Reduction Act of 2011 (H.R. 408; S. 178). In this proposed budget, $2.5 trillion would be cut from the budget by 2021. One of the proposed cuts is the Training for Realtime Writers Act, which allows the Department of Education to provide competitive grants to court reporting programs to train more realtime writers who are capable of providing realtime, closed captioning, and CART services to more than 30 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing.
Secured as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act in 2008 after years of advocating for this Act, NCRA's work on this initiative has helped provide millions of dollars to court reporting programs across the country to recruit and train more realtime writers. For example, just this past year, four court reporting schools received just under $1 million total to train realtime writers.
NCRA's Government Relations staff will be working with Congressional staffers to protect the program and has already begun talking to people around Capitol Hill. However, Congressional Offices need to hear from their constituents about the importance of this vital program. We cannot be successful without your voice of support for the program. The more phone calls, the more letters, and the more e-mails that members of Congress receive from those who are actively engaged in the profession, the more likely they will be to act in our favor.
Tell your senators and representatives about the dire need for individuals who are capable of providing closed captioning, CART, and realtime for the 30 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing who rely on such services. Congress took a major step forward in 2010 by passing the Accessibility Act, which requires all television programming, including the nightly news, athletic contests, and talk shows that are broadcast live on television and subsequently streamed to the Internet to be closed captioned. Additionally, devices that display video, such as smart phones, mp3 players, and DVRs, must be capable of closed captioning, displaying video description, and emergency alerts as well.
Furthermore, the law allocates up to $10 million for individuals who are deaf or blind to purchase specialized equipment, and the government is authorized to create a databank that offers online products and services that are available to deaf and blind individuals. However, by cutting off funding right now, they will be stifling the deaf and hard of hearing's access to emergency alerts, nightly news, sporting events, and much more.
Click here to submit an e-mail on the critical need for the Training for Realtime Writers Act to your members of Congress. It's quick and easy and will take just a minute of your time. Remember, your Senators and Representatives were elected to serve you. You serve a crucial part in the American legislative process. You have your voices and your votes. Do not hesitate to use them.