Slowly but Surely!
We are slowly seeing a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Before we are free and clear, we still have to take precautions to ensure our families’ safety as well as our own. Please remember to continue following all safety protocols and keep updated on the safety suggestions from the COVID-19 Task Force, who continues working hard in ensuring that any protocols it puts in place protects not only court users, but also court staff. Please remember that courts themselves are working on individual operating guidelines to reopen. Please review operating guidelines for the courthouse in which you practice (HERE) to be informed of the different protocols in place.
We’re also on social media!
Please follow the Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news about Georgia’s Judiciary. Also, please don’t forget about our new website, which is up and running: OCP.GEORGIACOURTS.GOV. Please remember that you can submit any questions or any requests on our new website by clicking on Court Professional Requests. This link is also available on our website.
Please don’t forget to check out the January issue of the Georgia Courts Journal. This and other issues are available HERE.
Please don’t forget to take a look at your GCR profile and update your contact information, as well as reviewing your privacy settings to reflect the contact information you want to share on our public directory. Staff uses your contact information to send job opportunities, important notices, and any other information that might be important to court professionals.
Please read the tenth order extending the declaration of a statewide judicial emergency HERE.
BOARD OF COURT REPORTING.
Thank you for submitting your requests for continuing education before the deadline. For future reference, please don’t forget that Part 2, Section C, Subsection 1 of the Continuing Education Manual states that proof of CE must be submitted on your GCR profile within 30 days of completion of said educational activity. Failure to do so may result in the rejection of your submission.
Please take notice that you must upload any and all documents you need to submit to the Board through your GCR profile. Staff cannot accept documents that are e-mailed or mailed to our GCR e-mail account. Failure to submit documents through your GCR profile may result in the rejection of the documents not properly submitted.
Update on Legislation
The Standing Committee on Court Reporting Matters pro-posed legislation to update and modernize court reporting laws in Georgia. The proposed legislation gives courts guidelines for the use of digital recording equipment and grants the power to decide whether to use a digital system or a court reporter to each individual judge. The proposed legislation also updates licensing requirements, such as ensuring reporters can go inactive and come back, as attorneys do. The proposed legislation updates almost every court reporting-related statute in Georgia. For example, the Civil Practice Act is amended to make it clarify that the original copy of a deposition transcript in an e-filing jurisdiction may be a digital copy, which will enable attorneys to more easily file the “original” PDF transcript with an e-filing system. Additionally, the proposal requires clerks or other designated court staff to retain the physical evidence in trials, taking this burden away from the court reporters.
Additionally, large sections of the Court Reporting Act are amended to place more discretion in the Board of Court Re-porting. The current statutes governing the licensing of court reporters are very detailed, and include detailed provisions, for example, requiring reporters to renew their licenses by April 1. Similarly, the law presumes that the Board will ad-minister a test of court reporting skills before awarding a li-cense, but this practice was discontinued years ago, and the Board currently does not provide a test. Instead, the Board requires proof of a nationally-recognized court reporting certification. As regulatory priorities have shifted and technology has advanced over the four decades since this law was first enacted, compliance with the Act has become an increasing burden on Board members and staff. The proposal would grant more discretion to the Board to create rules governing the regulation of the industry. Also, the proposal recognizes that different classes of courts may face different court re-porting challenges and permits more representation from judges from those classes of court to serve on the Board.
Most significantly, however, the proposal amends Chapter 14 of Title 5 (Court Reporting) to allow the Board of Court Re-porting to regulate the use of digital recording systems as an alternative method for creating transcripts of court proceedings (not depositions). The Board is tasked with promulgating rules for using the systems, including statewide minimum technical standards for their use. The new statute creates a new license category for certified transcriptionists. The transcript that results from the use of a digital recording system must be created by a certified transcriptionist (all current certified court reporters will receive a license as a certified transcriptionist automatically when the law goes into effect). Only transcripts certified by a certified court reporter or certified transcriptionist are entitled to the presumption that they are true, complete, and correct.
Finally, the discretion regarding whether to use a digital re-cording system or a traditional court reporter is vested in each individual judge. However, where a judge wishes to use a digital recording system instead of a court reporter, that judge must utilize a system that complies with the Board of Court Reporting Rules. OCGA § 15-14-1. Related statutes, such as the Appellate Practice Act and two provisions in Title 17, are amended to conform with this system. Staff will provide more updates related to this proposed legislation in future newsletters.
Please don’t forget that our renewal season starts on February 1st and ends on April 1st. Don’t forget to log into your GCR profile to renew your license.
Georgia Court Reporters Association
GCRA will hold their 2021 tech seminar on June 26-27 at the Classic Center & Hyatt Place in Athens, Georgia. Please click HERE for more information related to this event.
We thank you for your service to the State of Georgia; please don’t forget to send us any news or accomplishments of your fellow Court Reporters to our GCR e-mail address.
COMMISSION ON INTERPRETERS.
Please don’t forget to review the recommendations issued by the spoken languages and Sign Language subcommittee of the COVID-19 Task Force. Please visit the COVID-19 Task Force’s website to keep abreast of any developments.
Staff has expanded the resources available for court interpreters not only to use to study for the written and oral exams but also for those interpreters looking for resources to expand their knowledge of their profession and their skills.
Please take notice that you must upload any and all documents you need to submit to the Commission through your GCR profile. Staff cannot accept documents that are e-mailed or mailed to our GCR e-mail account. Failure to submit documents through your GCR profile may result in the rejection of the documents not properly submitted.
What’s Coming Up?
Atlanta Association of Interpreters and Translators.
AAIT will be hosting a virtual networking event on February 11th from 7:00—8:30 pm. Please click HERE for more information. There will also be a webinar called “El lenguaje claro y la traducción” on February 13th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Please click HERE for more information
National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators.
Please don’t forget to check out the NAJIT Academy for interesting and educational trainings. Also, you can check NAJIT upcoming events HERE.
Interpreters Guild of America
IGA is offering different trainings in the upcoming months, amongst them are a written court examination preparation on February 20, and an oral exam preparation workshop for candidate court interpreters on February 12. Please click HERE if you wish to see more information related to these courses. IGA offers monthly courses for different types of interpreters (medical, educational, etc.) so please keep visiting their website for more upcoming events or information. Please click HERE if you want to become an IGA member.
The Judicial Branch of the State of Maryland is looking for a Video Remote Interpreter Coordinator. Some of the tasks would include training court staff, judges, justice stakeholders, and interpreters on how to conduct remote proceedings via ZOOM and other video platforms as well as over the phone. Please click HERE for more information.
The Judicial Branch of the State of Vermont is looking for a Programs Manager with experience with access to justice and interpreting. Please click HERE to review qualifications for this position, or to apply.
Access to Additional Tools
The National Center for State Courts’ Language Access Advisory Committee made available their national database for State Court Interpreters free of charge until July 1, 2020. This database will help you locate certified interpreters with more ease.
Please contact John Botero, Program Manager of the Office of Court Professionals of the Judicial Council/AOC and staff to the Commission on Interpreters by e-mail or by calling 404.656.5171 if you have any questions or require further assistance.
We thank you for your service to the State of Georgia; please don’t forget to send us any news, recognitions, or accomplishments of your fellow court professionals to our GCR e-mail address. We’d also love to advertise any trainings, workshops, and seminars; please don’t forget to keep us in the loop.