2014 Legislative Boot Camp takes court reporter from New York to Capitol Hill
VIENNA, Va., March 10, 2014—Debra A. Levinson, CEO of DALCO Reporting, Inc., and a member of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) and the New York State Court Reporters Association (NYSCRA), recently met with legislative staff members from the offices of Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D), and several House representatives to urge their support of the Local Courthouse Safety Act and proposed legislation, the National Oath Act. The visit culminated a three-day Legislative Boot Camp program hosted by NCRA, March 2nd to March 4th, designed to provide advocacy training for the stenographic court reporting profession. Levinson was part of a contingency of 44 NCRA state affiliate association leaders and its national board of directors visiting Capitol Hill.
The Legislative Boot Camp program included a wide array of sessions that covered grassroots efforts, effective lobbying, communicating with Congressional staff, and public relations. It provided attendees with a variety of skills and tools they can utilize to advocate on important issues for court reporters at the national, state, and local levels.
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 eliminate some of the notary regulations placed on court reporters in interstate matters. This proposed legislation offers court reporters in the private sector the flexibility to work in various states without requiring a notary from that state. It would not supersede other state laws as to who is able to work as a court reporter in that state. It is not an interstate notary either, as it solely allows a court reporter to swear in a witness.
“It is important to NCRA that members of the court reporting profession work in the safest environment possible, and we are committed to doing everything we can to help ensure that scenario is a reality. It is also important to NCRA that members of the court reporting profession have the ability to do their jobs when working across state lines. The passage of both the Local Courthouse Safety Act and the National Oath Act would provide huge benefits to our members in terms of safety, additional resources, and ease of doing business,” said Jim Cudahy, executive director and chief executive officer of NCRA.
Levinson, a court reporter for more than 35 years, is a longtime member of NCRA and has earned the nationally recognized credentials of Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR), Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), Certified Merit Reporter (CMR), and winner of the 2012 National Realtime Competition. She resides in Millwood, N.Y.
The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) is internationally recognized for promoting excellence among those who capture and convert the spoken word to text for more than 100 years. NCRA is committed to supporting its more than 18,000 members in achieving the highest level of professional expertise with educational opportunities and industry-recognized court reporting, educator and videographer certification programs. NCRA impacts legislative issues and the global marketplace through its actively involved membership. Forbes has named court reporting as one of the best career options that do not require a traditional four-year degree and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the court reporting field is expected to grow by 14 percent through the year 2020. For more information, visit www.NCRA.org.