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2024 member dues proposal to be discussed during the Annual Business Meeting

At its March 2023 meeting, NCRA’s Board of Directors voted to put forward a proposal to raise membership dues, which members can vote on immediately following the Annual Business Meet­ing on July 27, 2023. The Board noted a dues increase is critical to maintain and grow the services provided to NCRA members and to con­tinue the Association’s efforts to advance and advocate for the professions.

NCRA strives to keep member­ship dues as low as possible to make it affordable for as many potential members as desire to join their national Association while providing them with a robust list of services and opportunities. How­ever, inflation has affected many segments of our economy and the costs of services and goods have risen. To continue to offer the wide range of services our members have come to expect, it is necessary to raise membership dues to keep those services avail­able. The last time a membership dues increase went into effect was in 2020.

In the past year alone, NCRA has seen an increase in needed advocacy in several states, including successful campaigns on behalf of court reporters in Indiana and Illinois. In addition, NCRA took the lead on a successful battle against the Department of Labor’s proposed rulemaking to limit or reclassify independent contractors, which would have seriously affected professionals across the country. This was in addition to a return of the NCRA Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp, a complete update of SONAR, and the implemen­tation of a new advocacy software program to help the grassroots protect the profession (i.e., the successes in Illinois and Indiana).

Building on the changes wrought by the COVID-19 pan­demic, the NCRA Professional Development department has in­vested in a new learning manage­ment software to bring more live webinars to members, as well as offer easier access to on-demand training. The new NCRA learning management system also serves as a platform for the NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program, which continues to gain traction in attracting attention to the profession and giving pro­spective students an easy way to ascertain if steno court reporting and captioning are a good fit as a possible career. The NCRA A to Z program is complemented by a PR program designed to target areas in need of qualified students.

NCRA has also implemented a brand-new certification, the Registered Skilled Reporter (RSR), which meets the need for beginning reporters to validate their skills. Initiated in 2020, the RSR has demonstrated an ability to hold a verified level of skill to current and potential clients, current and potential employers, and fellow reporters.

These are only a very small sample of the initia­tives undertaken by the Association in the past few years, all while maintaining normal operations,

such as regular communications with members, the promotion of the profession and individual programs and members, and the continuing prom­ulgation of multiple NCRA certifications validating the skills of professional court reporters, caption­ers, and legal videographers. In combination, these programs help place NCRA as the premier expert on the making of the record in courts and outside of them and in the provision of live realtime captioning for broadcast, conferences, education, and in many other scenarios.

In sum, based on the many benefits offered by the Association to members and the profession as a whole, the NCRA Finance Committee put forth a recommendation to the Board of Direc­tors that reporter and captioners dues be raised, which the Board approved. The proposal raises dues to $350 for Registered and Participating members and to $209 for Associate members. Student dues would be raised to $64. (The chart below shows the proposed changes for additional groups.) Members who opted to become Lifetime Retired Members prior to Jan. 1, 2018, and those who were granted honorary status will continue to pay no dues. This increase means that mem­bership in your professional association costs less than $1 a day to support the organization that advocates for you and provides exceptional educational and communications resources.

The proposed amounts take into account the various parameters put in place for certain membership categories by the Constitution and Bylaws.

To go into effect for the 2024 year, the Board’s recommendation must be approved by a majority of the voting members voting by electronic mail and other authorized means of electronic transmission following the NCRA Annual Business Meeting that will be held in conjunction with the 2023 NCRA Convention & Expo in Houston, Texas, July 27-30, 2023.