Baskets are filling up: Be a part of NCRA’s PAC fundraiser

A number of state court reporter associations have shown their support for NCRA’s PAC (Political Action Committee) by committing to donate a gift basket for this year’s PAC fundraiser, Gift Basket Extravaganza, being held at the Association’s 2018 Convention & Expo, Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.

NCRA is asking all state associations to donate a gift basket that contains items that show the uniqueness of their state and their association’s pride in it! Each state that contributes a gift basket will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free registration to the 2019 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp.

Among the state associations that have donated a basket for the fundraising event is the Florida Court Reporters Association (FCRA) and West Virginia Court Reporters Association (WVCRA).

“This year, NCRA is trying something new to raise money for its PAC. Having a PAC allows NCRA to donate to legislators who might be willing to help the Association and the court reporting cause or to donate against those who may hurt us.  It is a very important and necessary part of politics,” said Christy Aulls Bradshaw, RPR, a freelance reporter and firm owner from Ocala, Fla., and immediate past president of FCRA.

“FCRA is excited and very proud to be contributing a basket for this year’s conference in New Orleans in support of the NCRA PAC. We are hoping to have a basket full of some of Florida’s favorite things. And, we hope that other states or firms will consider donating a basket too,” added Bradshaw, who also noted that the basket raffle has been a top fundraiser her state association for several years.

Here’s how the gift basket works: Each state association that donates a gift basket has a chance to win a registration to the 2019 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp. Which state wins the NCRA Legislative Boot Camp registration is based on which basket is the biggest draw at Convention. Convention attendees who contribute to NCRA PAC in exchange for raffle tickets will vote by putting their raffle tickets in a bowl for the basket they want to win. If donors want your state’s basket, they will put their tickets in the bowl, and the winner of the basket will be chosen randomly. The basket that accumulates the highest number of tickets wins the 2019 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp registration.

NCRA’s PAC is an important way members can help shape how the court reporting and captioning professions are addressed at the federal level.

“With the 2018 midterm elections coming up, NCRA has an opportunity to cultivate new alliances in the federal government and to ensure that members of Congress who know the importance of court reporters and support the court reporting profession in the United States stay in office,” said NCRA Government Relations Manager Matthew Barusch.

If you have any questions about the 2018 NCRA PAC Gift Basket Extravaganza, contact Matthew Barusch at mbarusch@ncra.org.

PAC Your Baskets: NCRA PAC Fundraiser at 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo

Contributing to the NCRA PAC (Political Action Committee) is an important way you can shape how the court reporting and captioning professions are addressed at the federal level. That makes this year more important than ever. With the 2018 midterm elections coming up, NCRA has an opportunity to cultivate new alliances in the federal government and to ensure that members of Congress who know the importance of court reporters and support the court reporting profession in the United States stay in office.

To raise PAC funds to help our allies in Congress in 2018, NCRA PAC is holding a Gift Basket Extravaganza at this year’s 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans. We are asking our state associations to donate a gift basket to NCRA PAC. Ideally, a gift basket would showcase the uniqueness of your state and your association’s pride in it! Each state that contributes a gift basket will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free registration to the 2019  NCRALegislative Boot Camp.

Here’s how it works: Each state association that donates a gift basket has a chance to win a registration to the 2019 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp. Which state wins the NCRA Legislative Boot Camp registration is based on which basket is the biggest draw at Convention. Convention attendees who contribute to NCRA PAC in exchange for raffle tickets will vote by putting their raffle tickets in a bowl for the basket they want to win. If donors want your state’s basket, they will put their tickets in the bowl, and the winner of the basket will be chosen randomly. The basket that accumulates the highest number of tickets wins the 2019 NCRA Legislative Boot Camp registration.

If you have any questions about the 2018 NCRA PAC Gift Basket Extravaganza, contact Matthew Barusch at mbarusch@ncra.org.

New Jersey Labor Department in battle with court reporting firms over employee classification

On April 26, The New Jersey Law Journal reported that companies that provide court reporting services are claiming that the state Department of Labor is targeting their industry with audits to change the employment status of stenographers from independent contractors to employees.

Read more. (Log-in may be required to view full article.)

NCRA applauds VCRA on grassroots campaign

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has signed into law SB 545, which establishes ethical standards and requirements for the provision of court reporting services. The new law prohibits providers of court reporting services from entering into contracts for more than one case. It also prohibits providers of court reporting services from entering into an action or legal proceeding with a party to an action, insurance company, third-party administrator, or any other person or entity that has a financial interest in the case, action, or legal proceeding.

NCRA CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto sent a letter to VCRA applauding the association’s members for their successful grassroots campaign that aided in garnering support for the new law.

“I want to personally applaud VCRA and your association’s ability to organize a grassroots campaign to accomplish this legislative victory. The greatest resource that the court reporting profession has is the passion and dedication of its members. Through this initiative, VCRA has shown the nation the true power and influence that court reporters have, and that with a little organizing and hard work, anything is possible.”

To read more about SB 545, visit the Virginia Legislative Information Center.

Local courts faced with possible cuts

The Chronicle-Tribune, Marion, Ind., posted an article on March 22 about the County Council’s decision to table a request to fill a court reporter position in Superior Court II, due to budget cuts.

Read more.

Bills in Hawaii advance to require showings of open captioned movies for deaf

Hawaii Public Radio reported on March 12 that state legislators are considering two bills that would require larger movie theaters to provide showings with open captioning and audio encoding for the deaf and blind. Currently, the deaf are given an eyewear device to use to access captions.

Read more.

New Legislative Boot Camp Experience inspires attendees to take action

Enlightening, enriching, insightful, and inspiring are just some of the adjectives representatives from 28 state court reporter associations used to describe their experiences at NCRA’s 2018 Legislative Boot Camp held March 11-13 in Reston, Va.

With a lineup of top speakers that addressed issues ranging from how to stop overthinking, why certification is important to state associations, how to support successful grassroots lobbying efforts, and how to implement effective programs at the state level, attendees of the NCRA 2018 Legislative Boot Camp were given access to an impressive learning opportunity. Attendees also participated in mock trials as they prepared to take new skills and insights they learned during the sessions to advocate for the court reporting and captioning professions during visits with lawmakers and their staff members on Capitol Hill.

Carolyn Coronado, RPR, and Keith Johnson, RDR, CRR, CRC, visit Rep. Pete Sessions office

“There was a lot of information shared during this event. It was enlightening, and I have some great ideas to take back to my state association, as well as some really good points I can use when I meet with my legislators,” said Carolyn Coronado, RPR, an official court reporter from Houston, Texas, and first-time boot camp attendee.

“For me personally, I can see how I can use the information I learned to address my judges as well on certain issues. I came here to learn, and now thinking ahead, I may become more involved with NCRA and committee work,” added Coronado, a past board member of the Texas Court Reporters Association.

Shelley Row, speaker, consultant, and author, led an insightful session laced with humor and personal stories in her presentation “Go with Your Gut: Effective Decision-Making in an Overthinking World.” The self-proclaimed recovering overthinker shared with attendees how she used infotuition – the combination of intuition and information – to learn to recognize the signs that made her an overthinker. She shared her cognition-intuition balance model that is based on understanding what constitutes a no-brainer decision versus a knee-jerk decision and how to leave room in our thinking to allow the “Aha!” moments. She also shared how important it is to remove yourself from heated situations before reacting, the positive impact of taking brain breaks, and recognizing body markers.

“Thinking and acting is not enough. You have to think, feel, and act. Taken together, the brain, gut, and the body’s neurological system create embodied intelligence that supports infotuitive decision-making. Understand in advance what triggers launch what reactions in you when faced with making good decisions. Learn ways that you can return to calm, and take brain breaks to allow all parts of the brain to work together to make decisions,” Row told attendees.

“Everything we talked about here are skills. They take practice. You are always practicing; every minute of every day is practice. It is likely that between today and tomorrow you will encounter a triggering event. You can make the decision to do what you’ve always done, or choose to slow it down and think about it differently. Either way is practice. Are you practicing the behavior that serves you best to make decisions from your gut?”

Row left attendees with one final thought: “A good message to take with you is that a lot of people go through life and don’t take a breath or don’t realize what affects them. You need to breathe. As court reporter you need to stop and do that.”

Attorney James Cool presented a session that discussed how to implement effective programs at the state level by understanding the moral philosophy framework for political persuasion. His presentation was focused on the five oral axes as explained in the book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, written by Jonathan Haidt, which explains how moral underlining philosophies drive our decision-making. The five moral axes that trigger our morality he touched on included:

  • Care/harm
  • Fairness/cheating
  • Loyalty/betrayal
  • Authority/ subversion
  • Sanctity/ degradation

Other sessions presented during boot camp that armed attendees with more insight and skills before heading to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and their staffs on the last day included:

  • “The State of Court Reporting” by NCRA President Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Matthew Barusch, NCRA State Government Relations Manager
  • “Grassroots Lobbying” by Jacqueline Sly, former state representative for South Dakota
  • “A Lesson on the Importance of Certification” with John Brandon, interim president of the Connecticut Court Reporters Association
  • “Certification: An Important Issue in the States” presented by Barusch and Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA Senior Director of Certification and Education, about why certification is an important issue for the states.

Rob Jones interviewed by NCRA President Chris Willette as Tricia Rosate, RDR, CRR, transcribes and Joe Donahoe videos

Other highlights of the 2018 boot camp experience included traveling into Washington, D.C., to Capitol Hill via the Metro, lunch in the Dirksen Senate Dining Room, and a special wrap-up reception at the Library of Congress in honor of the Veterans History Project (VHP). The reception also included an interview for the VHP by Willette with retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Rob Jones, a double above-the-knee amputee who has been inspiring fellow veterans with his 31 marathons in 31 days in 31 different cities and bike trip across the United States. Jones also holds a Bronze medal in rowing from the U.S. Paralympics. Planet Depos provided their top-notch videography services for the event and captured the entire interview for the National Court Reporters Foundation.

“I really enjoyed the networking sessions. I learned a lot. I liked the in-depth discussions of critical issues. These conversations are important. My biggest takeaway from Boot Camp is that I see there are people in virtually every state that care deeply about our profession and are willing to work together to address these issues,” said Joshua Edwards, RDR, CRR, a captioner from New York, N.Y., and president-elect of the New York State Court Reporters Association.

“You can have a bigger impact working together than alone in many areas. Court reporting and captioning as a field depends on the passion of our members,” he added.

 

NCRA and HLAA collaborate to help provide more CART captioning for chapter meetings

NCRA members have the opportunity to earn Professional Development Credits (PDCs) by providing pro bono CART services under a new collaborative program agreement with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). The agreement program is intended to help HLAA chapters across the country provide quality CART for their monthly meetings in a more affordable way. The agreement will also help increase the awareness of CART captioning and its benefit for people with hearing loss.

Under the agreement, NCRA-certified captioners can earn 1.0 PDC as part of the 3.0 Continuing Education Credits required every three years. NCRA members who participate in the collaborative agreement program will be reimbursed the fee assessment by the HLAA chapter to register the PDCs.

“This partnership is another step that NCRA is taking to help people with hearing disabilities have their accessibility needs met. Captioning services provided by a certified captioner are the best and only product for people with hearing loss to be able to fully participate in HLAA chapter meetings,” said Matthew R. Barusch, NCRA’s State Government Relations Manager.

“By partnering with HLAA and offering NCRA-certified captioners this additional member benefit, we not only continue our support of our captioner membership, we can help provide this amazing community with a service they need and help one of our long-standing organizational allies grow and prosper,” Barusch added. “I would encourage all of our certified captioner members to reach out to HLAA and find a local chapter near you.”

Under the agreement, the HLAA national chapter coordinator will connect NCRA captioners to local chapters.

“The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is thrilled to partner with NCRA to help our chapters provide CART at their monthly meetings in an affordable way and to remove a barrier to the formation of new chapters,” said Nancy Macklin, HLAA Director of External Affairs.

For more information about the collaborative agreement program or to sign up, contact Mathew Barusch at mbarusch@ncra.org.

 

NCRA welcomes Erik Robert Olson to government relations team

NCRA is pleased to announce that Erik Robert Olson, a principal with Venn Strategies, Washington, D.C., has joined the Association as legislative consultant. Olson’s experience includes 14 years of service as chief of staff and in a variety of policy and campaign roles for U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and former chair of the moderate pro-business House New Democrat Coalition.

Olson will work directly with NCRA CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto on developing a strong legislative strategy for future advancement of advocacy efforts in the federal arena. Olson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. He brings years of expertise in the areas of tax, trade, and health care to the clients of Venn Strategies.

“We are fortunate to have Erik joining our government relations team and representing our interests at the federal level. For the last several weeks, the Board has worked diligently to maintain the Association’s commitment to advocating and protecting our profession. With Erik’s support, that commitment has become even stronger,” Ferranto said.

“Erik understands the importance of a new vision for NCRA, and his knowledge of the legislative system without a doubt serves to complete our government relations efforts and to complement the hard work advocating for the profession at the state level already being spearheaded by our Government Relations Manager Matthew Barusch,” she added.

“After meeting Marcia and getting to know Matt, I am excited to help implement the direction the organization is going in. It seems like a new day and new opportunities are presenting themselves for NCRA, and I am excited to help carry out Marcia’s long-term vision,” Olson said.

Olson brings to NCRA a unique knowledge about the court reporting and captioning professions due to his work with Rep. Kind, a longtime supporter of the Association and a sponsor of multiple official proclamations recognizing the Association’s annual Court Reporting & Captioning Week. As Rep. Kind’s chief of staff, Olson was privy to the issues that matter most at the federal level to court reporting and captioning from the lawmaker’s wife, Tawni Kind, RMR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter and a member of NCRA.

Olson, who is from Rep. Kind’s hometown of La Crosse, Wis., said that while working on the representative’s campaign for more than three years, he had the opportunity to work closely with Tawni Kind and was able to learn more about what she did as an official court reporter.

“My dad was an attorney and has known the Kinds for years. So I also had experience watching court reporters in the courtroom. I also learned more about the profession when Rep. Kind was working on the realtime writers grants as well as when he created the Veterans History Project and involved court reporters and captioners in it,” he added.

In 2016, Olson’s firm was instrumental in helping to schedule meetings with Rep. Kind and other lawmakers on behalf of NCRA members who were attending that year’s NCRA Legislative Boot Camp. The firm is assisting NCRA again this year with creating the event’s app and scheduling meetings for the 2018 event set for March 11-13.

Olson said that one thing he finds so interesting about the court reporting and captioning professions is the lack of knowledge most people have about reporters’ roles in the community.

“I think from a government relations perspective, it is interesting that the people on the Hill don’t understand everything court reporters do or the importance of having credentials or the education required to develop the level of skill needed to do the job,” Olson said. “I don’t think people understand the quality of work court reporters bring to the job, whether it is helping with disabilities, captioning live broadcasts, or working in the courtroom. It is an untapped thing. We have a blank slate to go up and educate members and staff on the Hill, and there are opportunities that come with that. There is a clear path to do some interesting things,” he added.

In addition to his work in the legislative arena, Olson also serves as chairman ex officio and a member of the board of directors of Horton’s Kids, a non-profit organization that offers social and educational services for children in Washington, D.C.

“I am super excited to be working with everyone and to be involved in NCRA. I think there is a lot of opportunity with new leadership and on the Hill to find new champions, to educate them about NCRA, and to look for new legislative avenues. I have a lot of ideas. Rep. Kind should be part of a chorus of champions for the Association, so we need to develop a slate of members to help carry the water into the future and make sure NCRA continues to be a successful organization,” Olson said.

Venn Strategies is a nationally recognized, full-service government relations and public affairs firm. The firm has been named as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America by Inc. magazine.

A member’s perspective on why PAC matters

By Shaunise Day

Do you know what PAC is doing for you?

Behind the scenes, the NCRA Political Action Committee (PAC) is working hard on behalf of its members to ensure the future of court reporting and captioning. This means that PAC has a duty to establish relationships with legislators on Capitol Hill. PAC supports candidates who will work in the interest of NCRA’s legislative agenda to benefit the court reporting and captioning fields.

Where would we be without PAC?

Without PAC, our Association would not be able to monitor legislation from state to state that would affect the court reporting and captioning profession. For example, earlier this year, NCRA took a stand with California to oppose bill AB 1631. California AB 1631 would prohibit shorthand reporting services from gift giving for marketing purposes. This bill would also prohibit shorthand reporting services from entering into long-term contracts with attorneys, law firms, or third parties.

NCRA wrote an opinion letter addressing AB 1631 as well as consulted with state leaders and advised them on an advocacy strategy.

Our profession is currently facing key issues that will affect every member’s livelihood and could possibly shape the future of this profession. There is a student shortage, electronic/digital and video recording to eliminate reporters, and not to mention third-party contracting issues. These are just a few issues, but if we stand together, we can make a big difference in our favor.

Let’s take action and advocate together

Every one of us should feel compelled to take action and support PAC. We all have a responsibility to protect the profession. Let’s start now by advocating together. NCRA PAC only survives by the generosity of its members and contributors. Contributions of any size are appreciated. For the complete set of giving guidelines and a contribution form, visit NCRA’s Government Relations page.

 

Shaunise Day is a student at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif. She can be reached at shauniseday@gmail.com.