Congress Passes Legislation Supporting Real-Time Writers

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Congress Passes Legislation Supporting Real-Time Writers

Mon, 06/30/2008

We send out Action Alerts knowing that more often than not our efforts take years to bear fruit.  We’re happy to report this session has resulted in some good news: Congress has passed legislation that will help fund the training of more real-time writers. Many thanks to HLAA members who wrote to their Congress members and supported efforts for the training of more real-time writers!

From NCRA (National Court Reporter’s Association):
Congress Passes Training for Real-Time Writers Language

On July 31, 2008, Congress passed the Higher Education Opportunity Act. Included in the Act is NCRA’s Training for Real-Time Writers language, which creates a competitive grant program to train real-time writers to provide both captioned information and communication access for the 30 million Americans who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.

The passage of the bill marks a triumphant end to eight years of effort put in by NCRA and our partners in Congress. Many legislators, especially Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), have been advocates of this language since it was first introduced. NCRA has worked hand-in-hand with these lawmakers to ensure that this vital language reaches the President’s desk.

“As a certified broadcast captioner and real-time writer who works with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community week in and week out, I laud Congress’s passage of the Higher Education Opportunity Act with the inclusion of the Training for Real-Time Writers Act language,” said NCRA President Karen Yates, CRR, CBC, CCP. “Through my daily work, I see firsthand the needs of people with hearing loss and the difficulties that some in the community have in fully accessing communication. This funding will encourage more individuals to enter the real-time writing workforce and deliver positive changes to the 30 million Americans who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. On behalf of the 23,000 members of the National Court Reporters Association, we thank Congress and our congressional champions for moving this vital piece of legislation forward.

The passage of this legislation is a major step in ensuring equal access to information for those people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. In addition, this legislation enables the growth of the court reporting profession in order to keep up with the increasing demand for trained real-time court reporters.

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