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Alabama Victory on Mandatory Certification Stems from NCRA Boot Camp

Recently, Alabama faced the devastating news that mandatory certification of court reporters could possibly cease to exist October 1, 2010. What began as a sunset bill (SB564), with no controversial issues, should have passed quickly and without opposition. However, the bill was amended on the floor of the legislature without the knowledge of the Alabama Court Reporters Association -- and with a misrepresentation that ACRA and the Alabama Board of Court Reporting were in agreement with the amendments when, in fact, we knew nothing about them. Those who sought to undermine many years of hard work in obtaining certification in our state were assisted by the powerful trial lawyers association, the Alabama Association for Justice, who were possibly victims of misrepresentation as well.

ABCR and ACRA immediately began intense grassroots efforts, and court reporters became a daily presence at the Alabama State House. As a result of the training ACRA leaders received at NCRA’s Legislative Boot Camp, we were able to implement those grassroots efforts Sheree Cater and I had learned, and SB564 successfully passed the Senate and the House and now has Governor Riley’s signature. With only minimal amended language in the bill, our efforts have paid off! Boot Camp provided us the knowledge, skills, and confidence to take action and achieve positive results.

Mary Hicks, RPR, is president-elect of the Alabama Court Reporters Association.