Court Reporters Should Be Licensed

I’m always amazed at legislative proposals that just sort of “pop up” towards the end of a legislative session without much–or any–notice.  One that caught my eye is a bill, which has already passed the Senate, which would repeal the licensing requirement for court reporters.  (See section 5 of the bill.)

Under existing state law, court reporters and stenographers must be licensed.  General Statutes § 20-652 provides:

[N]o person shall use the title “shorthand reporter,” “court reporter” or similar designation, or display or use any words, letters, figures, title, advertisement or other device to indicate that such person is a shorthand reporter, or engage in the practice of shorthand reporting for compensation in this state, unless such person is licensed in accordance with the provisions of sections 20-650 to 20-656, inclusive, except as provided in section 20-655.

I don’t know the reasoning behind the bill to eliminate the licensing requirement for court reporters.  I do know that lawyers rely heavily on qualified court reporters and stenographers, particularly for depositions.  Licensing is a way to distinguish between qualified court reporters and individuals who just hang out a shingle offering transcription services.

Perhaps there are arguments to the contrary.  If so, I think both the “pro” and “con” arguments deserve a public hearing.  In any event, this bill deserves more attention than it has received.  I hope the bar associations and related organizations weigh in on it so the House can consider their arguments before voting.

Addendum: The Yankee Institute has this interesting article on licensing as an unnecessary barrier to entry into certain fields.  It supports the repeal of a number of state license requirements.

2 Comments on “Court Reporters Should Be Licensed”

  1. Jane Smith says:

    Contrary to what this post suggests, this proposal has been part of SB 191 for months and is not new language.

    • Dan Klau says:

      Thank you for the correction Jane. My point was really that the language received little notice or attention. But I should have been clearer.

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