I am posting this for all California CSRs. I hope everyone reading this is a member of CCRA or DRA and is helping to support our newest legislation. There are many working reporters volunteering time to help you. If you'd like to help, contact me!

If your agency is not owned by a CSR, under present California law, the owner cannot be fined or reprimanded by the CSR Board. Did you know that? Only YOU, the licensed reporter, have to follow the CSR laws.

I will note that the OPPONENTS BELOW have their agency names on the letterhead of the letter Carey Sarnoff signed on their behalf asking for a no vote. They've also hired a lobbyist.

In my opinion, the only reason an agency owner would not want this bill to become law and would hire a lobbyist to fight it is because they don't want have to play the game fairly and follow the same laws (including our minimum transcript formats) that a CSR does.

Lisa Michaels
AB 1461, authored by Assembly Member Ira Ruskin and cosponsored by DRA and CCRA, is an attempt to close an existing loophole that allows some court reporting entities to circumvent regulations imposed on all California Certified Shorthand Reporters and most California deposition reporting firms, particularly regarding the issue of gift-giving.

On April 21, 2009 this matter was heard in and passed out of the Assembly Business & Profession Committee by a 7 to 3 vote.

Proponents of the bill:
Consumer Attorneys of California
Consumer Federation of California
Court Reporters Board of California
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (Local 21) Service Employees International Union

OPPONENTS of the bill:

Thomson Reuters (LIVENOTE!)
California Deposition Agency Owners & Reporters Association (Veritext, Barkley Court Reporters, Esquire/Paulson Court Reporters, Sarnoff Court Reporters, Golden Gate Court Reporters, US Legal, Merrill Corporation)

DRA and CCRA were very well represented by our respective lobbyists, Ed Howard and Jim Cassie, and we thank them for their efforts.

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Thank you for posting this, Lisa.

I will definitely be sending a check to DRA. My renewel notice has been sitting in my bill drawer for a while now.
Thank you! We need all members to rally for this fight!
Thank you, Lisa, for your input.
There is information regarding this issue also contained in this month's Caligrams from the CCRA. The inequity/uneven playing field in operating a reporting agency with a licensed CSR versus non-CSR has gone on long enough. It's time we all operate under the same rules.
My heartfelt thanks to all working so diligently on this matter.
Hi, April!
Yes, CCRA and DRA are working together on this bill. I am not a member of CCRA and haven't seen their Caligrams. Thank you for letting me know. I belong to the Deposition Reporters Association as I am a depo reporter and want to focus my volunteer efforts on my career in freelance reporting.
Hi, Lisa. How does this apply to agencies who DO have CSRs as their owners? Example, to my knowledge, Pat Barkley and Cary Sarnoff ARE currently licensed CSRs. Have they reorganized in some fashion to have this bill not apply to their agencies? I'm confused on the "CSR as an agency owner" part.
Great Question, Audrey!

I don't know how any corporation is really owned unless we investigate the actual names or companies that "own" them. This bill (and hopefull a new law!) would:

"would additionally prohibit a firm, partnership, sole
proprietorship, or other business entity providing or arranging for
shorthand reporting services
from doing or failing to do any act that
constitutes unprofessional conduct under any statute, rule or
regulation pertaining to shorthand reporters or shorthand reporting."

I really am confused as to why Barkley and Sarnoff have opposed a fairness bill. They seem to be in some organization together with Veritext, Esquire, Merrill, LiveNote(which now has an agency) and US Legal which has hired a lobbyist to fight us. Perhaps those reporters who work for these companies can ask for themselves?
Hi, Lisa. I will have to familiarze myself more with the bill and the details within. It's been a while since I've heard about it or followed any information regarding its progression/digression. I'm not an agency, a corporation, etc., but I am a CSR, and I saw the list of opponents on the bill and wondered how it affects those holding licenses who actually ARE an agency and the like. That part was confusing to me. Thanks for the clarification!
This is actually a brand new bill just introduced in February of this year. If you'd like to read all about it, here is the link to the California Legislation Website and the page where you can put in "1461" to search for the new bill.

You can rest assured that most CSR firm owners you know who truly "own" their agency and have been following the CSR Board's recommendations and the CA Codes will be happy to have other lay people "owning" agencies following the same regulations that we licensees have always had to follow!
Oh, that explains why I couldn't find a bunch of info on it. Was there an earlier proposed bill a year or two back that was similar in nature? Maybe I'm thinking of something else. Or maybe I was at a seminar and heard the "buzz" on it but it hadn't gone anywhere yet. (??) Again, thanks for the link and the further info/clarification! Great info!
Yes, there was an attempt to pass a similar bill a year or so ago and it was killed in its infancy by a strong group of opponents who lobbied against it. To reiterate, the purpose of this bill to close an existing loophole in the oversight of court reporting entities. The current code language holds only shorthand corporations and CSRs to a set of rules, one of which is not engaging in gift-giving in an amount over $100 per recipient per year. AB 1461 would revise the existing code to include ALL entities in California engaged in the business of court reporting -- firms, partnerships, sole proprietorships, or any other business entity -- which have up to now been able to circumvent the regulations imposed on CSRs and corporations. The bill passed its first legislative hurdle by a vote of 7 to 3. Why only 7 to 3 and not unanimously? Because a strong group of opponents lobbied against it. Why would Thomson Reuters (LIVENOTE), Veritext, Barkley Court Reporters, Esquire/Paulson Court Reporters, Sarnoff Court Reporters, Golden Gate Court Reporters, US Legal, and Merrill Corporation fight a bill that would subject us all to the same rules? Having heard no good reason directly from them, I am forced to draw my own conclusions. Please support DRA in its efforts to fight for a level playing field and to restore integrity to this profession.


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