Program Seeks To Boost Number Of Certified Court Reporters In Iowa

Iowa — The State of Iowa will be launching incentives to try to encourage more Iowans to complete the training to become certified shorthand court reporters. State Representative Brian Lohse is also an attorney.

About 25 percent of court reporter positions in Iowa’s judicial system are vacant. Lohse says the cost of training to be a certified shorthand reporter is a major barrier.

A state law that took effect July 1st contains 100-thousand dollars for grants and forgivable loans for newly licensed court reporters.

Court reporters use steno machines that type syllables instead of letters, so they can type well over 200 words a minute. While some trials are recorded, judges rely on court reporters to immediately be able to read back testimony when questions are raised during court proceedings. Last November, in an effort to expand the number of court reporters in Iowa, the state Supreme Court changed administrative guidelines to let certified voice writers work in Iowa courtrooms. Voice writers speak into a microphone inside a mask, repeating what’s said in court, and the dialogue is converted into text.