UPDATE: Parliamentary review of voting tally results in additional changes to Bylaws

NCRA members voted on 12 amendments to the Constitution & Bylaws following the Annual Business Meeting on Aug. 2, 2018, which occurred in conjunction with the NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, La. A question arose on the NCRA state leaders listserve on how abstention votes were counted in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised Edition, so a parliamentary review was requested. Upon parliamentary confirmation of the rule/method for counting abstention votes, all amendments except Amendment 11, the name change, are now deemed to have passed. Going forward, NCRA has put in place a policy to have voting results verified by our parliamentarian before being announced to our membership.

Per our Constitution & Bylaws, Article IX, Section 5b, “The latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the official parliamentary guide for all business sessions when they are not in conflict with this Constitution and Bylaws or rules adopted by the Association during the annual business meeting or by the Board of Directors.” Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, Page 415, “ignore blank ballots and other ballots that indicate no preference, treating them as abstentions” and “all ballots that indicate a preference – provided they have been cast by persons entitled to vote – are taken into account in determining the number of votes cast for purposes of computing.”

To pass, Bylaws amendments must receive at least two-thirds (66.7%) affirmation by the Voting Members who are voting by electronic mail or other authorized means of electronic transmission. The numbers below reflect the percentages voting for each amendment:

NumberNamePass/FailedPercentage Voted For
1Voting for Officers and Board of DirectorsPassed (previously reported as failed)71.9%
2Voting on Bylaws AmendmentsPassed82.0%
3Clarification of electoral processPassed83.6%
4Elections when more than two candidates are running for the same positionPassed81.5%
5Number of Directors on the BoardPassed (previously reported as failed)71.4%
6Clarification of the timing of terms of officePassed84.8%
7Elimination of requirement to include a consumer or public member as part of the Council of the Academy of Court Reporters (CAPR)Passed (previously reported as failed)72.9%
8Clarification of electronic mail votingPassed83.5%
9Removal of reference of electronic voting in a business meetingPassed (previously reported as failed)71.4%
10Definition of Voting MembersPassed84.7%
11Name changeFailed47.3%
12Meeting referencePassed92.3%

During the Annual Business Meeting, Keith Lemons and Yolanda Walton were elected by majority vote to fill unoccupied spaces on the Board of Directors resulting from the promotion of two Directors to Officer positions on the Board.

The Constitution & Bylaws permits all eligible NCRA voting members to vote through electronic means on Bylaws amendments and contested Board of Directors elections. The Bylaws amendments ranged from minor, including cleaning up some repetitive language, to more substantial, such as streamlining the voting procedures for amendments and elections. Eligible voting members participated through a private, secure link during the 12-hour voting period. View all voting results.

Marjorie A. Peters Recognized with 2018 Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism

Nancy Hopp and Marjorie Peters

NCRA member Marjorie A. Peters, RMR, CRR, a freelance court reporter and firm owner from Pittsburgh, Pa., was honored with the 2018 Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism. The award was presented by NCRF during NCRA’s Convention & Expo held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.

The Aurelio Award is given to a working court reporter with more than 25 years of experience who has given back to the profession and to the court reporting community with no expectation of any reward.

“Receiving the Santo Aurelio Award was an emotional and overwhelming moment, only made better because I was able to share it in person with so many friends and colleagues who offered their heartfelt congratulations and kind words.  When I see photos on Facebook, I continue to be deeply touched,” said Peters, who owns Marjorie Peters Court Reporting.

“When I look at past years’ awardees, I am in awe to be included now in their company and then even more humbled that my dear friends nominated me and saw it through,” she added.

At the national level, Peters has presented numerous times at NCRA’s annual Convention & Expo as well as has served on a number of the Association’s committees. She is a longtime supporter of NCRF.

Active at the state level, she has served twice on the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association Board of Directors. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting (STAR) and has coordinated a number of Veterans History Project events to capture the stories of U.S. war veterans for the Library of Congress to preserve.

She has sponsored students at both the state and national levels for memberships and convention fees and often invites students from the court reporting program at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) into her home office to demonstrate live captioning.

Active in her community, Peters is a longtime volunteer with the Light of Life Rescue Mission, as well as the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Race, which benefits the Autism Society. She is also a lector at the Assumption Church in Bellevue, Pa.

“I feel Marjorie is the perfect example of the meaning of the word altruism – the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others,” said life-long friend Janis L. Ferguson, RPR, CRR, who was one of several of Peters’ peers to nominate her.

“She has demonstrated this time and time again through her concern for her family, her concern for her community, and her concern and passion for her chosen profession. It has been an honor to nominate her,” added Ferguson, a freelance court reporter from Erie, Pa.

“Marjorie’s work history is made up of every facet of our profession – judicial reporting, captioning, and freelance work. She does not hesitate to volunteer in every way she can manage for our school in western Pennsylvania, and is a great aid to CCAC,” wrote Donna Cascio, FAPR, RDR, CMRS, an official court reporter from Somerset, Pa., who also nominated Peters.

“She is a great ambassador for our profession — and for living with compassion and kindness on this planet,” Cascio added.

Peters said that each year, she continues to be inspired by court reporters, CART and broadcast captioners, and firm owners who offer themselves to build up the profession, as well as their communities, and offered the following words of encouragement: “Let us always be encouraged by each other. Always remember to allow yourself to be inspired, and that any act of kindness, no matter how small, is never wasted. Smile at a hard-working clerk. Act when action is needed. And give whenever you can. Your heart and mind will be most richly rewarded.”

NCRA contests draw attention to court reporting, captioning professions

Sherry Bryant and Mark Kislingbury

New Orleans media outlets interviewed several NCRA members who competed in the NCRA Speed Contest and NCRA Realtime Contest during the NCRA Convention & Expo held there earlier this month.

NCRA member and Guinness world record holder Mark Kislingbury, FAPR, RDR, CRR, from Houston, Texas, was featured in a segment on ABC affiliate WGNO that aired Aug. 8. The interview took place during NCRA’s 2018 Convention & Expo held in New Orleans Aug. 2-5, where Kislingbury won the National Realtime Contest.

Erminia Uviedo and Donna Karoscik

NCRA members Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Donna Karoscik, RDR, CRR, CRC, were interviewed by New Orleans station WWLTV Channel 4 about the court reporting and captioning professions and what it’s like to compete in the National Realtime Contest.

Hennigan honored with NCRA 2018 CASE Award of Excellence

Chris Willette and Robyn M. Hennigan

NCRA member Robyn M. Hennigan, RPR, CRI, an instructor at Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio, was named 2018 Educator of the Year during a special awards luncheon at NCRA’s Convention & Expo held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.

NCRA’s CASE (Council on Approved Student Education) Award of Excellence recognizes the important role student education plays in the court reporting profession and honors educators for their dedication and outstanding achievement and leadership. Recipients are nominated by an NCRA member.

“Receiving the CASE Award of Excellence sincerely touches my heart and brings me great joy because it means that my work has positively enriched the lives of others, helping them to succeed; and for that, I am eternally grateful,” Hennigan said. “Professionally, I feel this award certainly reaches the pinnacle; and I hope to remain at this peak for quite some time, always striving for excellence to help others achieve greatness.”

Hennigan, who holds the nationally-recognized professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and Certified Reporting Instructor (CRI), has been in the court reporting profession for 29 years and has served as the director and only full-time faculty member in Clark State’s court reporting program for the past 16 years. She recently worked in conjunction with the faculty at Stark State College in North Canton, Ohio, to create a shared degree program between the two schools. She also owns and operates a scoping and proofreading business serving the reporting profession.

At the national level, Hennigan has served as a member of NCRA’s Board of Directors. For the past 12 years, she has also served as a test grader for NCRA and has attended the Association’s Legislative Boot Camp and many of NCRA’s educational events, including the Annual Convention & Expo. She currently serves on several of NCRA’s committees.

Hennigan is also a member of the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA) and she is a past member of its Board of Directors. In 2010, she was recognized by the state association as its Outstanding Associate Member.

Hennigan and her husband, Eric, have two children and four grandchildren.

Keynote Speaker: You have to create and lead change

Keynote Speaker Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré (U.S. Army, Ret.)

With the mantra, “Don’t be stuck on stupid,” NCRA 2018 Convention & Expo keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré (U.S. Army, Ret.), a 37-year veteran of active service, used his natural humor to share his insights about what leadership is, when and how to use it, and why we need to be resilient.

Honoré, who served as the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, during which time he became known as the “Category 5 General” for his striking leadership style in coordinating military relief efforts in post-hurricane New Orleans, also shared his military story during a special Veterans History Project interview held during the premier session.

Honoré shared with the audience that the ballroom they were sitting in served as the temporary home to the battalion under his command during Hurricane Katrina, as it was one of the only dry places available after the horrific flooding. He said he and members of his team evacuated people from the nearby Superdome through the hotel and onto buses waiting outside.

“On any given day, anything man-made can be broken by Mother Nature,” Honoré said.

He also talked about his experiences in other hurricane recoveries, including Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico, the Florida Keys, and other coastal areas, and shared some of the lessons those experiences taught him, including the importance of being resilient rather than being stuck on stupid. He illustrated his point by sharing the story of a McDonald’s restaurant built on a river that has flooded numerous times and has been rebuilt numerous times. Each time it has flooded, some 20 employees are out of work.

Veterans History Project interview: Danielle Griffin, Mike Miller, Russel Honore

“We’ve got to stop being stupid. If you build along a river, you’re gonna flood. With the various changes in weather, if you live along the coast, you need to be ready for storms. Sea levels have risen along the East Coast and our coastlines are at risk. You need leadership to help raise good kids because they are the ones who will need to lead us through the strains and challenges of the changing weather and other issues of today,” Honoré said.

The points Honoré shared with the audience about leadership included:

  • Grow children. You are going to have to practice leadership. Save your best leadership for when you get home. Leading at work is easy. Leadership is the ability to influence others to accomplish a task or a challenge. Ask, what does it take to influence this child?
  • You want to surround yourself with smart people.
  • Leadership comes at a price. You need to figure out what works. To lead requires sacrifice. If you are not sacrificing, you are not leading.
  • Do the routine things well. Teach your children that.
  • Don’t be afraid of the impossible.
  • Don’t be afraid of the opportunities on the other side of the impossible. Be resilient. Go figure out how to deal with things. We put a man on the moon but haven’t been able to develop a transmitter that a squirrel can’t chew through.

“If you are going to lead, you are going to be criticized,” Honoré told the audience. “People are scared of change. You have to create and lead change. People push back on change. Be patient when leading. The change you need to create won’t be easy. If it is easy, you haven’t changed enough.”

PAC basket raffle raises awareness and funds

The Gift Basket Extravaganza sponsored by NCRA’s Government Relations Department to benefit the Association’s PAC (Political Action Committee) raised $1,905. Eleven states and NCRA participated in the fundraising event held at the Association’s 2018 Convention & Expo that took place in New Orleans Aug. 2-5.

Among the states that packed baskets full of items representative of their states were Arizona, California, the California Official Court Reporters Association (COCRA), Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Items ranged from bottles of wine, cheeses, various snacks, baked goods, fiesta ware, beach items, and more. NCRA’s basket featured Washington, D.C. memorabilia.

Shaunise Day and Mike Miller

The winning basket was donated by NCRA student member Shaunise Day on behalf of the COCRA, and featured an array of California-related items including some top-notch champagne. Day won a registration to the 2019 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp for her most popular basket. NCRA member Michael Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from Houston, Texas, won the COCRA basket.

“This fundraiser was very successful in raising money for an important cause, and in getting members excited about the PAC and what it does,” said Matthew R. Barusch, NCRA’s Manager of State Government Relations.

“The states that contributed to the fundraiser really stepped up with some incredible donations, and showed off real state pride in each and every basket. Thank you to every state who contributed to this new fundraiser, and to the PAC Governing Board for planning a big hit at the convention, this would not have been a success without you. I see this fundraiser being even bigger and better next year, and hope that even more states will take the opportunity to show off their states in Denver!”

You earned it! Now keep it!

Now that you have earned your certification, you need to maintain it by earning continuing education credits (CEUs). On September 30, NCRA’s 2018 education cycle will come to an end. NCRA members with cycles ending in 2018 have a number of quick-and-easy ways to earn CEUs in the time remaining.

  1. Watch the JCR Weekly and your email for information about upcoming live webinars and e-seminars. Webinars and e-seminars represent the most convenient way to earn CEUs when and where you need them. NCRA’s library of webinars and e-seminars is the easiest way to find the latest offerings. Webinars are live presentations from industry professionals on various professional and industry-related topics, and e-seminars feature recorded video and downloadable handout materials and allow you to access the best presentations from past NCRA events and webinars.
  2. Attend a pre-approved event, including state association conferences, and earn CEUs while catching up with old friends and making new ones during educational sessions and networking opportunities. Many state associations and other court reporter-related organizations are hosting conferences and seminars in September. Most events are one to three days, and many of them are in the first half of the month. Check out the full calendar of pre-approved events on NCRA’s website.
  3. Did you know that if you learn CPR or first aid, you can earn CEUs? The American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and other organizations often host seminars on CPR or first aid. Perhaps you can organize a few colleagues from your firm, court, or even your local area to team up for an event nearby. Court reporters and captioners have to be prepared for anything, so why not add safety to your list of skills?
  4. Transcribe an oral history for the National Court Reporters Foundation program. Members who participate in the Oral Histories Program through NCRF may earn Professional Development Credits for their time. Members can apply up to 1.0 PDC to their CEU requirement per cycle. Transcribe a 30- to 90-minute pre-recorded interview of an American veteran, Holocaust survivor, or attorney who has provided pro bono services through Legal Aid. Many people find participating in the Oral Histories Program to be especially rewarding. Learn more about the Oral Histories Program by visiting the NCRF page on the NCRA website.
  5. You may have already participated in activities that have helped you earn CEUs or PDCs during the last year, and the only thing you need to do is fill out the proper form to get credit. If you promoted the profession at a career fair, law school, or other event; provided pro bono services; served on a state association board or committee (including the United States Court Reporting Association); or participated in a formal mentoring program, you may qualify for credit for your volunteerism. To learn more, visit the Continuing Education page on the NCRA website.
  6. Finally, go through your records to see if any educational opportunities were somehow overlooked. Classes should be closely related to court reporting and not paid for by your employer. If the event was held in the past three years, it may be worth the time to see if it might be CEU-worthy.


Learn more about how you can keep that certification you worked so hard to earn by visiting the Continuing Education page on NCRA’s website.



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