Watch for information about voting

On Thursday, Aug. 15, all eligible voting NCRA members will have the ability to vote online for the proposed Constitution & Bylaws amendments.
The online vote will start within two hours of the end of the Annual Business Meeting and will be open for 24 hours. The Annual Business Meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. MT (10:30 ET).When voting begins, an email will be sent to all eligible voting members for whom NCRA has a valid address. Members will be sent a link to a secure voting website. The email gives detailed instructions on how to log in to the system to cast a vote.
Members can vote on their phones, tablets, or computers.

Start your new career path as a court reporter

On July 18, Fox Channel 2, St. Louis, Mo., aired an interview with NCRA members Debbie Walters, the CEO of PohlmanUSA, and court reporter Angela Taylor, RPR, about the need for more court reporters and NCRA’s A to ZTM Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand.

Watch here.

Purpose of the bylaw change for the National Congress of State Associations

At the annual business meeting during the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo in Denver, one of the proposed bylaw changes is being put forward by NCSA (National Committee of State Associations). The proposal will change the name of NCSA to the National Congress of State Associations and includes other bylaw changes affecting NCSA’s structure, changing it back to more of a legislative function within NCRA’s organizational structure, acting as a resolution-making body, forwarding said resolutions to the NCRA Board of Directors for review and/or vote on the issues brought forth.  As well, the Congress will serve as a potential proving ground for identification and development of future NCRA leaders and Board members based on demonstration of leadership ability and statesmanship.

The mission of the Congress will be to act as ambassadors from each state association affiliate back to NCRA on behalf of the court reporting and captioning communities and provide a forum for state leaders to exchange information on various issues and points of view involving the Association and the profession.  The overall hope for the new Congress will be to act as a partner with the Board, however, with all state affiliate delegate leaders working together as 50 state associations on issues facing our industry. They will develop ideas, solutions, and paths forward to be advanced to the Board with suggested changes and the thought process behind how those recommendations were reached, with the ultimate decision still resting with the NCRA Board of Directors. 

The Congress will provide a unique voice working in conjunction with the NCRA Board of Directors… working as a team developing our future together!

Reminder: Membership dues increase proposed for 2020

At its August 2018 meeting, NCRA’s Board of Directors voted to put forward a proposal to raise membership dues, which members can vote on at the Annual Business Meeting. 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.

The Board of Directors recommended that reporter dues be raised to $300 for Registered and Participating members and to $179 for Associate members. Student dues will be raised to $55. (The chart below shows the proposed changes for additional groups.) Members who opted to become Lifetime retired members before Dec. 31, 2017, and those who were granted honorary status will continue to pay no dues.

The proposed amounts take into account the various parameters put in place on dues for certain membership categories by the Constitution & Bylaws. Dues for NCRA membership last increased in 2016.

To go into effect for the 2020 year, the Board’s recommendation must be approved by a majority of the voting members present at the NCRA Annual Business Meeting that will be held in conjunction with the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo in Denver, Colo., Aug. 15-18.

Proposed Dues Increase for 2020

Seven Bylaws amendments to be voted on following Annual Business Meeting

Want to vote? Sign up now

NCRA’s Constitution & Bylaws permit members to cast their votes on bylaws amendments via secure online means. To exercise the right, members must have an active email address on file in NCRA’s membership database. This will enable NCRA to keep you informed if an amendment is coming up for a vote and provide information on how to register and cast your vote online. Members who are eligible to vote will be able to sign on to the secure website and then vote through a private, secure link during the 24-hour voting period.

Please make sure that NCRA has an active email address in the database by July 31. Contact the Member Services and Information Center at 800-272-6272, or update your NCRA account on the NCRA portal by following these instructions:

  1. Log in with your Member ID number and password. If you forgot your password, click on the “Forgot/Reset Password” link to follow the instruction prompts.
  2. Under “Welcome [Name]” at the top of the screen, select “My Profile.”
  3. On the next screen, select “My NCRA” from the menu and then “My Main Profile.”
  4. Make any necessary changes to your email address.
  5. Click “Save” at the bottom of the screen to save your updates.

Voting members should check that an updated email is on file with NCRA by July 31. (Not currently a member? Become a member today.) Voting will occur in conjunction with the NCRA Annual Business Meeting.

Members may cast their votes via their phones, tablets, or computers. Voting will begin within two hours after the close of the Annual Business Meeting, which will be held on Thursday, Aug. 15, from 8:30-11 a.m. MT. Voting is open for 24 hours.

Seven Bylaws amendments to be voted on following Annual Business Meeting

NCRA Announces New Tagline: The Association for Court Reporters and Captioners

NCRA’s Board of Directors has announced the adoption of a new tagline that will accompany the official logo to better recognize its captioner membership. The new tagline, which will appear under the official logo, will read: The Association for Court Reporters and Captioners.

“The new tagline is in line with one of the goals of the Association’s 2019-2021 strategic plan, which calls for including captioning in all of our language. The new tagline also reflects the Board of Directors’ forward-thinking strategy to move NCRA into the future,” said NCRA President Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter from Springfield, Ohio.

The 2018 business meeting in New Orleans provided an opportunity for members to vote on a new name for the Association that included captioners. While it didn’t pass, many discussions regarding opportunities and challenges arose from the subject. There was support for the idea of the name change, but there were also practical concerns that hadn’t been addressed. At the recent Board meeting in May, the Board discussed and voted on the new tagline, which demonstrates their commitment to evaluating everything NCRA has been doing and determining where improvements can be made in all areas.  This is part of the Board’s vision in creating NCRA 2.0.

Carol Studenmund, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Portland, Ore., along with NCRA’s Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) Certification Committee that she co-chairs, had a solution and championed the proposal to the Board to change the tagline this spring. 

The solution agreed to by the Board was one that enabled the Association to retain the NCRA name and logo but still communicated that this organization supports captioners as well.

Benefits of retaining the NCRA name and logo as is include name recognition throughout other entities in the field, such as the Federal Communications Commission, Congress, and the state legislatures.

“The new tagline reinforces the fact that captioners and court reporters already share many of the same skills and issues, and by banding together through NCRA, they can better find ways to promote both captioners and court reporters. There is strength in numbers,” Studenmund added.

“The new tagline will help both court reporters and captioners move forward as a profession and as an association,” Studenmund said. “We are all better together, and the new tagline – The Association for Court Reporters and Captioners – will help us do that.”

The new logo with tagline will be incorporated into all NCRA communications over the coming months.

Get to know the NCRA Slate of Nominees

NCRA’s Nominating Committee has offered its candidates for the 2019-2020 Board of Directors. The following outlines the candidates’ qualifications for members to prepare for voting. As provided in the Bylaws, additional nominations were possible if received within 60 days after publication of the Nominating Committee slate. The date by which additional nominations were to be received was May 12. No additional nominations were received. The following slate of Officers and Directors will be elected by acclamation to their respective offices during the Annual Business Meeting in Denver, Colo. In accordance with NCRA’s Bylaws, the President-Elect automatically succeeds to the office of the President.

President-Elect
Christine Phipps, RPR
North Palm Beach, Fla.

Christine Phipps, RPR
Christine Phipps, RPR

Christine Phipps is a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and president of Phipps Reporting, based in North Palm Beach, Fla. She is the current Vice President of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). She received her associate degree in court reporting from Broward State College, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and worked as an official court reporter for the first two years of her career. She spent the next 15 years working internationally as a freelance realtime court reporter.
Phipps is also an Eclipse Trainer, holds the Realtime Systems Administrator certificate, and has served as Chair of NCRA’s Technology and Freelance Committees, as well as on numerous other committees. She participated in the rewrite of NCRA’s Deposition Handbook, is a frequent contributor to the JCR, and has been a speaker at national and at state conventions.

Phipps was awarded the 2014 Most Enterprising Woman of the Year, Game Changer of the Year, and U.S. Small Business Administration’s South Florida District 2017 Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the Year Award. Her company has also made Inc. magazine’s 5000 list every year since 2014, making her the first honorary member of the Inc. 5000 in the court reporting industry. Phipps has also received numerous other business awards and was featured on the cover of Wealth & Finance magazine.

U.S. Small Business Administration’s South Florida District 2017 Woman-Owned Small Business Person of the Year Award.

Vice President
Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC
Woodland, Utah

Debbie A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC
Debbie A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC

Debra A. Dibble is a 28-year court reporter veteran who has worked as a deposition reporter in Salt Lake City, Utah, since 2002. She holds the nationally recognized professional certifications of Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR), Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC); she has also qualified in the National Speed and National Realtime Contests multiple times. She also holds NCRA’s Realtime Systems Administrator certificate. Dibble has also worked as a reporter in Memphis, Tenn. She has been a broadcast captioner and CART provider since 2010.

At the national level, Dibble has served as an NCRA Chief Examiner. She served as a delegate to the National Committee of State Associations from 2008 to 2012, in addition to service on numerous other committees. Dibble also served six years on NCRA’s Board of Directors including a three-year term as Secretary-Treasurer. She has also served as a presenter at the national and state levels.

At the state level, Dibble is a past president of the Utah Court Reporters Association and was honored in 2010 with the organization’s Distinguished Service Award.

Kristin M. Anderson, RPR
Kristin M. Anderson, RPR

Secretary-Treasurer
Kristin M. Anderson, RPR
San Antonio, Texas

Kristin Anderson is an official court reporter in San Antonio, Texas, for Bexar County Civil District Court. With more than 19 years of experience, she has worked both as a freelance reporter in Kansas and Missouri and as an official court reporter for the states of Illinois and Kansas. Anderson worked for the United States District Court Western District of Texas from 2013 through 2017 and holds the nationally recognized professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and has her Federal Certified Realtime Reporter (FCRR) designation with the United States Court Reporters Association (USCRA).

At the national level, Anderson is a past chair of the National Committee of State Associations and served on that committee in various capacities from 2006 through 2014. She also served on the Veterans Liaison Committee of NCRA’s New Professionals Committee, the Membership and Telemarketing Committee, and the Steno Opportunities in the Courts Task Force.

At the state level, Anderson has served in numerous positions and on various committees for the Kansas Court Reporters Association, including as president for two terms. She served on the Texas Court Reporters Association Convention and Ethics Committees in 2015-2016. Anderson is a member of the Bexar County Court Reporters Association, Texas Court Reporters Association, Texas Depositions Reporters Association, The Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting (better known as STAR), and USCRA.

DIRECTORS
Several people were nominated for directorships of varying lengths in accordance with the changes made to the Constitution & Bylaws last year as well as some directors moving into positions as officers.

Director (three-year term)
Lance A. Boardman, RDR, CRR
Cleveland, Ohio

Lance Boardman, RDR, CRR
Lance Boardman, RDR, CRR

In his 35 years as a court reporter, Boardman has been a freelance reporter, a state official, and an independent contractor. He is now a federal official court reporter for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division. He holds the nationally recognized professional certifications of Registered Diplomat Reporter (RDR), Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), and Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR).
At the national level, Boardman has served on NCRA’s Education Content Committee and as a regional director on the National Committee of State Associations Governing Committee.

Boardman has been a member of a number of state associations over the years, as well as USCRA, The Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting (better known as STAR), and Texas Depositions Reporters Association. He most recently served as a district director and then secretary on the Ohio Court Reporters Association Board of Directors.

Director (three-year term)
Heidi C. Thomas, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CRC
Acworth, Ga.

Heidi C. Thomas, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CRC
Heidi C. Thomas, FAPR, RDR, RMR, CRR, CRC

Heidi C. Thomas, FAPR, RDR, RMR, CRR, CRC, has been a court reporter since 1978 and a broadcast and CART captioner since 1989. She holds the nationally recognized professional certifications of Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR), and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC). She is a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters (FAPR).

At the national level, Thomas served for six years on the NCRA Realtime Certification Committee, which developed the Certified CART Provider (CCP) and Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC) certifications. She was also part of the team that developed the Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) certification. She also served as a member of the NCRA Captioning Regulatory Policy Committees. She has been a member of NCRA’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR), which deals with certification and education issues. Thomas has served for many years on the faculty/training staff of NCRA.

At the state level, Thomas is a former Director and past Secretary of the Georgia Shorthand Reporters Association (GSRA) and former member of the Board of Court Reporting for the State of Georgia. She has also served as a presenter at the national and at the state level.

There are two openings for a two-year term, and the nominees are:

Director (two-year term)
Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR
Brentwood, Tenn.

Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR
Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR

Keith R. Lemons is a freelance court reporter, a former firm owner, and an official court reporter. He has been a court reporter for 37 years. He holds the nationally recognized professional certifications of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR). He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters (FAPR).

At the national level, Lemons has chaired NCRA’s Scopists Task Force and has served on the Constitution & Bylaws, Technology, and Realtime Systems Administrator committees. He has been a contributor to the JCR for many years. He has also served as a presenter at the national and at the state levels.

At the state level, Lemons is a past president of the Wyoming Association of Shorthand Reporters and the Tennessee Court Reporters Association.

Director (two-year term)
Yolanda Walton, FAPR, RPR
Norwalk, Ohio

Yolanda Walton, FAPR, RPR
Yolanda Walton, FAPR, RPR

Yolanda has been an official court reporter for Huron County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court for 31 years and is a past president of the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA). She has been instrumental in helping the OCRA stay the course as one of the leading court reporting and captioning associations in the country.

Yolanda has received the OCRA Glenn W. Stiles Distinguished Service, Martin Fincun, and Diplomat Awards for her outstanding service to the profession and association.
At the national level, Yolanda has been a member of NCRA since a student and has served on numerous committees, including as a National Committee of State Associations Committee Delegate. She also has attended every NCRA convention since 1992.

She holds the nationally recognized professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and is a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters (FAPR).

There is one opening for a one-year term, and the nominee is:

Director (one-year term)
Jason T. Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC
Fort Collins, Colo.

Jason T. Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC
Jason T. Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC

Jason T. Meadors is a firm owner who began his career in court reporting while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1975-1978. He has worked as a freelance court reporter and an official reporter and has owned his own firm since 1989. Meadors holds the nationally recognized professional certifications of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC). He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters (FAPR).
During his career, Meadors has reported in nearly two dozen states as well as in China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, South Korea, and Taiwan.

At the national level, Meadors has served on numerous NCRA committees, as well as on the Board of Directors and as Secretary-Treasurer. He is also a contributor to the JCR magazine and has presented at the national and at the state level.

His volunteer service has included numerous positions with the Colorado Court Reporters Association, including as its president.

WKT given in braille for the second time


Amy Davidson and Eva Liu

Along with the many people who will be taking the RPR Written Knowledge Test in April is a student who is blind and will be reading the test in braille.

It is the second time a person has taken the test in braille. The first was Kayde Rieken in April 2017.

To make the braille test possible took the efforts of NCRA’s Director of Certification and Testing Amy Davidson and Certification and Testing Program Manager Eva Liu. They found a company to translate the test into braille. The current test taker will be answering the same questions as the other April 2019 test takers.

Davidson and Liu make accommodations for a variety of disabilities and special situations.

“NCRA really strives to provide the best opportunities for all of our candidates,” Davidson said. “Anyone who has a medically documented type of requirement for accommodation needs to reach out to us, and we will work with them. Please reach out to NCRA early so we have time to make it work.”

NCRA covers the cost of creating the braille test and the additional accommodations that are needed  with the testing company, Pearson VUE. Davidson and Liu work with each candidate who needs special accommodations to give them an individualized plan with Pearson.

The current braille test taker will be in a room with a personal proctor who will be timing her and also recording her answers. For example, the test taker will say “question 1, answer B,” and the proctor will repeat it back to her and then mark the answer on the test.

“We go above and beyond to make sure our testing candidates have a positive experience,” Liu said.  “We are walking alongside them every step of the way through the testing process.”

Besides accommodations for disabilities, NCRA staff has also worked with test takers on issues like test location. They worked with Pearson VUE to authorize additional locations in Jamaica and the Bahamas so that candidates can test locally.

“We do everything in our power to help candidates succeed in their testing,” Liu said.

Accommodations also happen for the online skills testing within the online testing platform.

In striving for success for all candidates, NCRA’s online skills test registration includes the opportunity for a proctored practice exam before the real test. It’s a great way for test takers to check equipment, Internet connectivity, test procedures, etc., to help candidates successfully take and pass their skills tests.

Visit our Certification Test Center to learn more about NCRA testing.


NCRA letter to the Michigan House of Representatives

The following letter was sent from NCRA President Sue Terry in support of House Bill 4329, which would increase the transcript page rate for Michigan court reporters.

March 14, 2019
The Honorable Graham Filler Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary
Michigan House of Representatives
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514

Dear Representative Filler, Ranking Member LaGrand, and members of the Judiciary Committee,
As President of the National Court Reporters Association, which represents over 13,000 members, including 261 in the state of Michigan, I am writing today to express my support for House Bill 4329, which would increase the transcript page rate for Michigan court reporters. This bill would reaffirm the Michigan Legislature’s commitment to court reporters, who act as “guardians of the record” and have provided their invaluable services to the state’s court system without fair compensation for decades.
The page rate in Michigan has gone unchanged for over 30 years; and yet, inflation, general goods, and supply costs have continued to increase. For example, according to statistics from the federal government, the cost of eggs 30 years ago has gone from 71 cents to $1.63, bread from 60 cents to $1.28, and gas from 96 cents to over $2.50 and to up to $4.00 a gallon. Despite this inflation, the page rate in Michigan has remained unchanged. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the inflation rate has increased 103.58% from 1989-2018 and yet the page rate for court reporters has remained static.
Court reporters take extraordinary measures to satisfy their statutory obligation to provide accurate and complete transcripts of court records in a timely manner. Court reporters are passionate, hardworking court officials, who routinely work on producing transcripts after normal business hours with no consideration beyond the currently set statutory page rate as compensation. They are often required to produce transcripts within statutory time limits or face penalties such as fines or loss of certification. Many court reporters are required to purchase their own materials, at great personal expense, to create transcripts that are required by law. Court reporters do this because they take their obligation to the justice system and their roles as “guardians of the record” quite seriously, and they should be compensated fairly for that role.
An increase in the transcript page rate would enable those reporters to have the financial capability to satisfy their legal obligations in a more expeditious manner, ensuring that the court system in Michigan operates smoothly and efficiently. We believe that a vote for this bill is a vote ensuring that the integrity of the court record may be upheld.
NCRA stands in support of the Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters and asks you to vote to pass this bill. If I or the NCRA staff can be of assistance, please contact Government Relations Director Matthew Barusch at mbarusch@ncra.org. Thank you.


Sincerely,


Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC
2018/2019 NCRA President

Nominate someone special to be CASE Educator of the Year or a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters

Now is the time to recognize someone special! Every year, NCRA offers members several opportunities to bring attention to the people who are contributing to the profession in important ways. The Council on Approved Student Education (CASE) is seeking nominees for Educator of the Year, and the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR) wishes to recognize court reporters and captioners who have made significant contributions to the professions. CASE and CAPR are committees supported by NCRA.  

CASE Educator of the YearThis special award is for a court reporting instructor. Was there someone special who inspired you, who got you through the ups, downs, and plateaus of your court reporting classes? If your teacher was an incredible influence in your getting started, now is the time to say thank you by nominating that special someone for the CASE Educator of the Year Award. Nominations close April 1.

Fellow of the Academy of Professional ReportersIf you know a dedicated court reporter or captioner who has contributed to the profession in a big way over the years, nominate that person as a Fellow. Candidates must be active practitioners in the field and have at least 10 years of experience. Criteria for nomination include the publication of important papers, legislative or creative contributions to the field, and service on committees or boards. Nominations close April 1.