Legal Placement Services: Information Regarding Court Reporters

While most people might not think that The Wild Wild West, Billy the Kid, and Wild Bill Hickok might not have anything to do with reporting or legal placement services, in a way they do. What they have in common is their timing, because 1893 was when the first idea of coming up with a national court reporting association (NCRA) came to mind. The idea came to fruition in 1899 in Chicago where the National Shorthand Reporters Association (NSRA) held their first meeting. About the year of 1927, the NSRA set their first code of ethics and allowed women to take a more active role in the profession.

Enough about the history, some people who might be considering this career path might be more curious about the types of court reporters there are and the certifications required. The information below will describe these two pieces of information about court reporters.Types of Court Reporters

A court reporter is often referred to as a shorthand reporter, a law reporter, or a stenotype operator, all of which have the same definition of transcribing the happenings of trials. No matter what the profession is called, there are different career paths the professional can advance toward with the right training. Some of the different types of court reporters that require this training include Registered Professional Reporters (RPR), Registered Merit Reporters (RMR), Registered Diplomat Reporters (RDR), Certified Realtime Reporters (CRR), Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC), Certified Legal Video Specialists (CLVS), and Certified Program Evaluators (CPE).

Those who think technology would eliminate the profession are obviously wrong because while technology provides a sense of better accuracy those recordings or videos still need to be transcribed. Many court reporters choose to work as freelancers because along with working for law firms, they can work for television companies by transcribing captions for the hearing-impaired.

Types of Required Certifications

The Nationally Recognized Certification has been administered to court reporters since 1937. Additionally, the RPR has replaced the licensing exam (also known as the state certification) in 22 states. As previously mentioned there are many different types of reporters, but some of them are simply different levels of certification:

  1. Registered Professional Reporters (RPR) – The first level of certification that holds about 11,000 certified professionals.
  2. Registered Merit Reporters (RMR) – 2,100 professionals claim this second level certification spot.
  3. Registered Diplomate Reporters (RDR) – 450 have reached this third certification level.

Becoming certified might be challenging with all the different accuracy and type-speed requirements, but it provides a number of benefits. For one, certifications give professionals more opportunities because it shows the professionals’ level of commitment to their profession. It also gives them the opportunity to build their skillset and enhance their credibility.

While the process of becoming a court reporter might be frustrating and challenging, it has its benefits and many different career options. If this article has not provided enough information for professionals who are looking to pursue a career in this profession, the interested professional should contact local legal placement services or NCRA.org for more information.

Health Care Reform: The Employer Mandate and Reporting Requirements

Many employers remain confused about health care reform, and how their business will be impacted. One of the most important parts of the law is the employer’s “shared responsibility” role, in which employers are required to provide affordable health insurance coverage to their staff. However, “this pay-or-play” mandate has been postponed, providing employers more time to understand and comply with the law.

Reporting Requirements

Employers and other reporting entities will be provided additional time to provide input and feedback on ways to simplify information reporting, while remaining consistent with the law. Known as “transition relief”, it is intended to provide employers, insurers, and other providers of minimum essential coverage time to adapt their health coverage and reporting systems.

In anticipation of the application of the provisions in 2015, however, the IRS encourages employers to voluntarily comply for 2014 with these information-reporting provisions (once the information reporting rules have been issued) and to maintain or expand health coverage to all full-time employees in 2014.Employer Mandate (employers defined as “large” by the ACA)

No “Employer Shared Responsibility” penalties will be assessed for 2014 (the piece of the law requiring employers to provide all employees with affordable coverage). Large employers who do not offer coverage or who offer coverage that does not meet the ACA’s definition of affordable will not be penalized in 2014. However, these employers need to be ready to comply for 2015.

Individual Mandate

The individual requirement, which is effective January, 1, 2014, has not been delayed. Under the individual requirement, U.S. citizens and legal residents are required to carry health insurance or pay a penalty tax. It is expected that the set-up and operation of the new insurance marketplace, called “The Exchange,” will continue in each state.

Premium Credits through the Exchange

The delay does not affect the availability of premium credits for individuals eligible for federal subsidies. Individuals will continue to be eligible for the premium tax credit by enrolling in a qualified health plan through the Affordable Insurance Exchanges (also called Health Insurance Marketplaces), if:

a) Their household income is within a specified range; and,

b) They are not eligible for other minimum essential coverage, including an eligible employer-sponsored plan that is affordable and provides minimum value.

Benefits eligibility for full-time employees/Hours Tracking

The ACA defines a full-time employee, for the purpose of benefits eligibility, to be one working an average of 30+ hours per week. Due to the delay of the employer mandate, employers will not be required to comply with this definition in 2014. There is no need for employers to track hours in 2013 to determine eligibility for 2014, or to decide on a measurement, administrative, and stability period.Maximum waiting period

The delay does not affect the maximum waiting period rules effective January 1, 2014. The ACA requires that an employer must not have a waiting period that is longer than 90 days. Note that some states, such as California, may have more stringent laws.

Although the two items being delayed are significant, we recommend that employers continue their diligence with understanding and preparing for the implementation of Health Care Reform provisions in 2014, through 2020.

New CDC Report On Seat Belts

Seat belt laws were created fairly recently in the United States, and their implementation has varied across states and vehicles-the consequences of which have proven detrimental on numerous occasions. One night last fall, a father and his daughter were traveling down a San Diego highway when he suddenly lost control of the vehicle and swerved into oncoming traffic. His daughter was ejected and died at the scene of the accident. The vehicle, a 1956 Volkswagen Beetle, had never been outfitted with safety belts, nor was the father ever required by law to install any. Given the strong relationship between occupant protection and the use of safety belts his daughter may have survived the accident had she been wearing one.

An estimated 12,713 lives were saved by seat belts in 2009. Moreover, more than 72,000 fatalities were prevented between the years of 2005 and 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In California, 574 of the 1,963 vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle collisions in 2008 were not wearing any safety equipment, according to the California Highway Patrol’s accident statistics. As much as drivers who “buckle up” have improved the safety of motor vehicles, there were no laws mandating their use until New York enacted the first one in 1984. In the following years, every other state would follow, except for one: New Hampshire.Seat belt laws fall into two categories: primary and secondary. In states where primary laws are in effect, law enforcement officials may stop a vehicle and issue a citation when either a driver or a passenger is not wearing a belt. An officer may only issue a citation for not wearing a safety belt after the vehicle has been pulled over for another violation in states with secondary laws. “Currently, 31 states, including California, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have primary seat belt laws, and 18 states have secondary laws”, explains Jim Ballidis, a California personal injury lawyer.

Compliance has been higher in states with primary laws than in those with secondary laws, according to NHTSA. A recent telephone survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed NHTSA’s finding: drivers in California, Oregon, and Washington-all states with primary laws-reported the highest seat-belt use in the country. Coming in first place was Oregon, where 94% of the people surveyed claimed to be seat-belt wearers, followed by California with 93.2%, and Washington State with 92%. Surprisingly, New Hampshire did not rank the lowest. Whereas 66.4% of people surveyed there said they always use a safety belt, only 59.2% of people in North Dakota reported the same.As seat-belt use has increased, the number of vehicle occupant fatalities has decreased, according to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS). The recent CDC study noted a similar correlation between seat-belt use and injuries resulting from accidents: between 2001 and 2009, the injury rate among motor vehicle occupants decreased by 16%, while between 2002 and 2008, the number of people using buckling up rose from 81% to 85%.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 5-34 in the United States. Safety belts have the potential to reduce the risk of fatal injuries during a crash by approximately 45%, according to the CDC. Considering these two facts, everyone should buckle up.