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House Passes Realtime Training Legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday passed its version of the Higher Education Reauthorization bill, which includes language to create a grant program to train realtime writers to provide captioned information and communication for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing nationwide.

NCRA will now work toward ensuring that the same language is included in the final conference bill that is presented to President Bush to sign into law. The Senate has already passed a version of the Higher Education Reauthorization bill.

"The Senate has passed similar language — known previously as the Training for Realtime Writers Act — twice before unanimously," said Mark Golden, CAE, NCRA's Executive Director and CEO. "We hope that the Senate will once again rise to the call of those Americans in need of communication access services."

NCRA has been working side-by-side with Congressman Ron Kind (D-Wis.) since 2001 on this issue. "Court reporters are the guardians of the public record, and closed captioners help our hard-of-hearing residents stay informed," Rep. Kind said. "Right now we are educating only half the realtime writers we need, and I am pleased that this new grant program will increase awareness and interest in this vital profession."