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House Bill 5046

MECRA, MAPCR, and MAFCR are pleased to announce the newly introduced House Bill 5046 - Page Rate Increase for transcripts in the state of Michigan.  This long-awaited increase has caused a shortage of court reporters and recorder along with causing a crisis producing the official record.

 

We are charged as the "guardian" of a precise record that can change the lives of so many in the legal system.  

 

  Join us in making history and making a change for our industry.

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What's next on HB 5046

3/18/2024

Press Release

For Immediate Release: March 18, 2024

Contact:         Kara Van Dam

                        mafcr2019@gmail.com

                        734-649-0604

 

Michigan Court Reporters Continue Decades-Long Battle for Fair Pay

 

The Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters (MAPCR), Michigan Electronic Court Reporters Association (MECRA), and Michigan Association of Freelance Court Reporters (MAFCR) have banded together in their efforts to increase Michigan’s page rate, which has not increased since 1986.

 

Court reporters in the State of Michigan are paid a per-page rate which is set by the legislature.  This rate has not been increased in 38 years.  Michigan's current page rate of $1.75 per page is one of the lowest page rates in the nation. Neighboring states of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio all have page rates in excess of $4.00 per page.

 

House Bill 5046, sponsored by Nate Shannon (D-District 58), would increase Michigan’s page rate to $3.75 per page.  The bill passed the Michigan House of Representatives on November 1, 2023, in a 104-6 vote.  Despite overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, the bill has stalled awaiting a hearing in front of the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee.

 

Transcripts are essential to the judicial process in Michigan.  Court reporters are guardians of the record who have continued to provide an invaluable service to the state’s court system without fair compensation for decades. They are required to produce transcripts within statutory time limits or face penalties such as fines or loss of certification.

 

According to SCAO, there are fewer than 1,400 court reporters licensed to prepare transcripts in Michigan.  The low per-page rate has caused a shortage of court reporters willing to work at the 1986 rates, and those that continue to produce transcripts are suffering from severe caseload fatigue. In 2020, there were 248 registered court reporting firms in Michigan.  As of February 14, 2024, that number has dwindled to 84 firms. This shortage affects appellate courts, court administration, counsel, parties, the public, and anyone navigating Michigan courts.  

 

We call on all Michiganders, but particularly those in the legal community, to express their support for the passage of House Bill 5046 by contacting their senators and urging them to pass this legislation into law quickly. 

 

For more information visit www.mecra.info/legislativedreamteam2023

 

* * *

2/5/2024

To: Members of MAPCR, MECRA, and MAFCR:

We are halfway to our goal of getting HB 5046 to the Governor’s desk. It is now time to take our fight to the Senate.  The next step is to get a committee hearing in front of the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee.  This decision lies with the Committee Chair, Stephanie Chang. We encourage all members to reach out to her office and let her know we need a hearing as soon as possible.  We have waited 38 years and now is our time.

 

Once we are able to have an initial committee hearing with testimony, there will be a second committee hearing where they will vote on the bill.  If passed, HB 5046 will be eligible for a vote on the Senate Floor.  It is the same procedure that we have been through on the House side.

Things you can do:

 

Write to Committee Chair, Stephanie Chang, and encourage her to put HB 5046 on the agenda.  Her email address is SenSChang@senate.michigan.gov.

 

Sign up for Senate Judiciary Committee agenda notifications to get direct notification when HB 5046 may be up for a hearing. Michigan Legislature - Listserver Signup. Judiciary Committee hearings typically take place on Thursdays at noon. However, the Chair can set hearing times at her pleasure. We usually do not get much notice before a hearing takes place, so this is an additional tool to make sure you’re in the loop. Of course, we will do our best to notify everyone as soon as we get any notification of an upcoming hearing.

 

Write to members of the Judiciary Committee and encourage them to vote yes when HB 5046 comes before them:

          
Stephanie Chang, Chair                      SenSChang@senate.michigan.gov

Sue Shink, Majority Vice Chair           SenSShink@senate.michigan.gov                       

Paul Wojno                                           SenPWojno@senate.michigan.gov 

Jeff Irwin                                               SenJIrwin@senate.michigan.gov                        

Sylvia Santana                                     SenSSantana@senate.michigan.gov                        

Jim Runestad, Minority Vice Chair     SenJRunestad@senate.michigan.gov                       

Ruth Johnson                                      SenRJohnson@senate.michigan.gov

Write to your Senator.  If you don’t already know who that is, you can look them up here: Home Page Find Your Senator - Michigan Senate.  You can use the same letter you did when writing to Committee Members.

Spread the word to other court reporters and recorders, judges, attorneys, professional contacts, family, friends, community groups, or anyone else you’ve ever complained to over the past 38 years about not getting a raise. 

 

An email can be as simple as writing “Please Support HB 5046” in the subject line and “Dear Sen. _______: My name is ______, a resident of your district.  I am writing to ask that you vote “Yes” on HB 5046, which would raise the fees for Michigan court reporters and recorders for the first time in 38 years.”

  

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to the legislative leads for each organization:

 

Jacqueline Reed (MECRA)               Kelli Werner (MAPCR)         Kara Van Dam (MAFCR)

 jarlovesgod@gmail.com                  StenoKelli@outlook.com      mafcr2019@gmail.com

If you are interested in keeping in touch with the Legislative Dream Team monthly meetings and updates, please provide your contact information at the following quick link:

Click Here:  Join our Legislative Dream Team

 

We are so encouraged by the collaborative efforts on that part of MAPCR, MECRA, and MAFCR to move our common interests forward.  It is only together that we can make this happen.

 

Regards,

Legislative Dream Team

10/12/2023

HB 5046 was filed with the House on September 26th. Things have moved very quickly, and it is our understanding there is a possibility the House Criminal Justice Committee will be voting on HB 5046 next Tuesday, October 17th, but it has not been officially added to the agenda. It may be as late as Monday afternoon before we have confirmation, so be on the lookout for an updated email blast. It would be wonderful if we could have as many people present to show support to pass the Bill. Let us know if you think you might be able to attend.

Criminal Justice Committee meets Tuesdays at 9:00 a.m. at

Location: Room 519, House Office Building, Lansing, MI

124 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing MI 48933

or              

In addition to attending the Committee Hearing, writing a letter to the Committee expressing your views on why this bill is so important to you is vital to its passage. We would like to have as many letters as possible submitted prior to the next hearing. It is good to keep things short and to the point but express your personal experience and how this stagnant page rate has affected you. If you are no longer preparing transcripts, it would still be helpful to express why you left the profession.

 

Criminal Justice Committee Members and Emails:

 

Thank you in advance for your time.

Leaves

Page Rate Increase Legislative Team
Join us at the next meeting on
4/1/2023 at 6:30 pm via Zoom.

 

CERs

Robin Fisette

Kris Fuller

Jodi Gordon

Tami Marsh

Lyn Searles

Kris Shaneour

CSRs

 Cheryl Farmer

Dawn Houghton

Jessica James

Shacara Mapp

Rochelle McNally

Kelli Werner

Freelance CERs/CSRs

 Jacqueline Reed 

Kristen Shankleton

Amy Shankleton-Novess

Theresa Stevens

Kara VanDam

If you would like someone to connect with you regarding HB 5046, please email us at mecracorrespondence@gmail.com.
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