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Davis introduces bill to train, recruit court reporters

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and Ron Kind, D-Wis., introduced bipartisan legislation this month that will reauthorize a grant program to encourage careers in realtime writing and court reporting.

The bill will reauthorize the Training for Realtime Writers Act, which was passed and signed into law as part of the Higher Education Act of 2008.

The grant program allows colleges and universities to apply for funding specifically to help encourage more students to pursue a career in realtime writing, closed captioning, or court reporting. Around 48 million Americans are deaf or hard-of-hearing and many of them rely on captioning services for news and information.

“The Training for Real-Time Writers grant is an important grant program that ensures we have the necessary resources to train court reporters and captioners for the estimated 48 million Americans who are deaf or impacted by hearing loss,” said Davis. “These funds have been incredibly successful in training the current generation of captioners and court reporters by modernizing curriculums, developing new captioning-specific programs, and increasing attendance at institutes of learning through student recruitment, scholarships, advertisements, equipment upgrades, and distance learning programs. I’m proud to be introducing this legislation to reauthorize this program with my colleague, Rep. Kind and look forward to working to ensure it is included as the House tackles Higher Education Reauthorization this Congress.”

“From maintaining the integrity of our democracy to ensuring every citizen stays up to date on today’s 24-hour news cycle, realtime writers are vital to folks everywhere,” said Kind. “Over the past decade, this program has encouraged a new generation of realtime writers to enter this vital field. I am proud to work across the aisle with Rep. Davis to reauthorize this program so we can continue to increase awareness and interest in this profession.”

The bill is supported by the Illinois Court Reporters Association.

“Because of the Training for Realtime Writers grant program, I have a court reporter colleague who received the educational training necessary to become captioner,” said Kathryn A. Thomas, Illinois Court Reporters Association. After becoming a captioner, she began teaching captioning classes of her own. If Illinois colleges receive this funding, they won’t just be training new captioners, but they will also be training the next generation of captioning professors. This funding has the ability to really make a positive impact on the captioning profession.”

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