NCRA Key Issues Area
NCRA wants its members to have as much information as possible on topics that affect their professional lives. This page addresses background information on key issues: certification, contracting, electronic/digital recording, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the student shortage. Click on the links for additional information and sources for further research as well as NCRA contacts for any questions or concerns.
The goal of all certification programs is to raise the level of competence and professionalism of the practitioners in the industry. For the individual reporter or captioner, certification provides a specific road map of the knowledge and skills needed in order to meet minimum standards of qualification. Reporters and captioners can also use certification as an independent validation of competence to distinguish themselves in the market. There is clearly a public stake in the competent performance of reporters and, in some cases, life and liberty rely on the record.
Litigants, other participants in the judicial system, and the general public expect that depositions and court proceedings be recorded by a competent, independent, and neutral court reporter who has no stake, financial or otherwise, in the outcome of the action. Prohibiting parties of interest in litigation from having a direct contractual relationship with court reporters, as officers of the court, is necessary to ensure the public’s faith in the integrity and impartiality of the judicial system.
Electronic/digital and video recording
Because of budget crunches, several courts are exploring the use of electronic recording systems to either supplement or replace stenographic reporters. Although electronic recording may be used in certain environments, such as courts that do not have frequent transcript requests, realtime court reporters, often described as “Guardians of the Record,” remain the most reliable and accurate method of making the record.
Fair Labor Standards Act
Broadly speaking, the Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal statute that originally passed in 1938 that addressed many of the issues with a fast-paced and growing working class and the rights of those workers. It provided for a minimum wage, it provided basic child labor laws, and it provided “time and a half” for employees in certain occupations who had to work overtime.
To combat the issue of student shortages and to respond to the increasing demand for reporters who are realtime trained, NCRA has taken a multifaceted hands-on approach to advancing education for court reporters. NCRA’s efforts have led to a dramatic improvement, with student enrollment increasing almost 38 percent at NCRA-approved programs after an almost decade-long decline in enrollment.