Herald-Whig

Local court reporter lobbies lawmakers for reauthorization of training grants

Quincy court reporter Kim Cottrell, right, meets with a member of Sen. Tammy Duckworth's staff to promote reauthorization of a grant program for the funding of training of closed-captioning writers. | Submitted Photo
Posted: May. 13, 2019 9:50 am Updated: May. 13, 2019 9:56 am

QUINCY -- A certified shorthand reporter with the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit was in Washington last week advocating for the profession at the National Court Reporter Association's 2019 Leadership and Legislative Boot Camp.

Kim Cottrell, who has worked in the Eighth Circuit for two years, met with staffers from U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood and Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin.

"My experience at Boot Camp was life changing," Cottrell said. "It gave me the confidence to continue to advocate for court reporting in any arena; particularly, its superiority over electronic recording in our state courts."

While meeting with congressional staffers, Cottrell, a member of the Illinois Court Reporters Association Board of Director, urged the lawmakers to support the reauthorization of the Training for Realtime Writers grants under the Higher Education Act enacted in 2009.

The legislation created a competitive grant program to train realtime writers to provide both captioned information and communication access for 30 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. Programs established with past grants also aided working reporters in learning and polishing realtime skills.

The National Court Reporters Association represents stenographic court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers.

The Boot Camp provided sessions on politics and grassroots lobbying, effective press communications and what to expect when visiting lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Other session provided mock hearings and tips for promoting the profession to consumer groups, as well as how to testify before legislators.