Not an Official Version*
310-A:161 Purpose. The purpose of this subdivision is to set appropriate standards for the proper licensure of court reporters, and to establish and maintain a standard of competency for individuals engaged in the practice of court reporting, to maintain the integrity of the transcription of the spoken word, and to contribute to the protection of the general public thereby.
310-A:162 Definitions. In this subdivision:
I. “Board” means the board of court reporters as created by this subdivision.
II. “Court reporter” means a person who has met the requirements set forth in this subdivision and is licensed to engage in shorthand reporting or voice writing.
III. “Machine writing” means the making of a verbatim record of the spoken word by means of the use of phonetic entries into a stenotype machine.
IV. “Secretary” shall mean the secretary of the board.
V. “Shorthand reporting” means the making by means of written symbols or abbreviations in shorthand or machine writing a verbatim record of the spoken word.
VI. “Voice reporting” means the making of a verbatim record of the spoken word by means of voice writing.
VII. “Voice writing” means the making of a verbatim record of the spoken word by means of an individual repeating the words of the speaker into a device either capable of digital translation into English text, or a device capable of creating a tape or digital recording.
I. There is hereby established a board of court reporters. The board shall consist of 5 members who shall be citizens of the United States and residents of this state appointed by the governor and council, 3 of whom shall be court reporters, one of whom shall be a public member and one of whom shall be admitted to practice law in the state of New Hampshire. The public member of the board shall be a person who is not, and never was, a member of the court reporting profession or the spouse of any such person, and who does not have and never has had, a material financial interest in either the provision of court reporting services or an activity directly related to court reporting, including the representation of the board or profession for a fee at any time during the 5 years preceding appointment. Each court reporter member shall have actively practiced court reporting for the chief means of livelihood for at least 10 years prior to appointment and shall have held a responsible position in charge of such work for at least 5 years prior to appointment, which may include the teaching of court reporting. Members shall be appointed for 5-year terms, except that no more than one appointed member’s term may expire in any one calendar year. Appointments for terms of less than 5 years may be made in order to comply with this limitation. No appointed member shall be eligible to serve more than 2 full consecutive terms, provided that, for this purpose only, a period actually served which exceeds 1/2 of the 5-year term shall be deemed a full term. Upon expiration of a member’s term, the member shall serve until a successor is qualified and appointed. The successor’s term shall be 5 years from the date of expiration of the predecessor’s appointment, regardless of the date of the successor’s appointment. Vacancies occurring prior to the expiration of a specific term shall be filled by appointment for the unexpired term. The governor and council may remove a board member for cause. Members of the board shall receive $25 for each day actually engaged in the duties of their office and shall be reimbursed for all actual travel, incidental, and clerical expenses necessarily incurred in carrying out the provisions of this subdivision.
II. The board shall hold at least 3 regular meetings each year and special meetings at such times as it may deem necessary. Notice of all meetings shall be given in such a manner as rules adopted by the board may provide. The board shall biennially elect or appoint a chairperson, vice-chairperson, and secretary. Three members shall constitute a quorum.
III. The board shall keep a record of its proceedings and a register of all applications for licensure, which shall show:
(a) The name, age, and residence of each applicant.
(b) The date of application.
(c) The place of business of such applicant.
(d) The applicant’s educational and other qualifications.
(e) Whether or not an examination was required.
(f) Whether the applicant was rejected and the reasons for such rejection.
(g) Whether a license was granted.
(h) The date of the action of the board.
(i) Such other information as may be deemed necessary by the board.
IV. The records of the board shall be prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the board, and a transcript of such records certified by the secretary of the board under seal shall be admissible in evidence with the same force and effect as if the original were produced.
V. Biennially, on or before December 31, the board shall submit to the governor a report of the transactions of the preceding biennium, and a complete statement of the receipts and expenditures of the board. The secretary of the board shall publish a roster listing the names and places of business of all court reporters licensed under the board during February of each even-numbered year. Copies of this roster shall be mailed to each person so licensed, placed on file with the secretary of state, and furnished to the public upon request at a fee to be established by the board. The board may include in such roster any other information it deems appropriate.
310-A:164 Rulemaking. The board shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to:
I. The application procedure for a license to practice under this subdivision.
II. The qualifications of applicants in addition to those requirements set by statute, including the qualifications for satisfactory evidence of good professional character.
III. How an applicant shall be examined, including the time and place of the examination.
IV. How a license to practice under this subdivision shall be renewed or reinstated, including late fees and any requirements for continuing education.
V. Ethical and professional standards required to be met by each holder of a license under this subdivision and how disciplinary actions by the board shall be implemented for violations of these standards.
VI. Fees under RSA 310-A:171.
VII. Matters related to the proper administration of this subdivision.
VIII. Procedures for the conduct of hearings consistent with the requirements of due process.
IX. The design of an official seal.
310-A:165 Designation as Licensed Court Reporter. Any person holding a valid license as a court reporter as herein provided shall be styled and known as a licensed court reporter. No other person shall assume or use the title “licensed court reporter.”
310-A:166 Prohibition of Use of Title. No person may assume or use the title or designation court reporter, licensed court reporter, court recorder, shorthand reporter, licensed shorthand reporter, shorthand court reporter, licensed shorthand court reporter, shorthand court recorder, verbatim reporter, verbatim court reporter, licensed verbatim court reporter, shorthand court recorder, verbatim court recorder, licensed court recorder, court stenographer, verbatim court stenographer, or any abbreviation, title, designation, words, letters, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that the person is such unless the person holds a valid license as prescribed in this subdivision. A court reporter may use the word “shorthand” in his or her title only if that person is licensed in the shorthand reporting method and a court reporter may use the word “verbatim” in his or her title only if that person is licensed in the voice writing method.
310-A:167 Standards of Practice. Court reporters, who play a role in judicial proceedings and at meetings where the spoken word must be preserved in written transcript, shall demonstrate competence in:
I. The use of verbatim methods and equipment to capture, store, retrieve, and transcribe pretrial and trial proceedings or other information.
II. Create verbatim transcripts of speeches, conversations, legal proceedings, meetings, and other events when written accounts of spoken words are necessary for correspondence, records, or legal proof.
III. Ensuring a complete, accurate, and secure legal record.
IV. Working in varieties of settings, such as taking depositions in attorney’s offices, documenting proceedings of meetings, conventions, and other private activities, and documenting proceedings taking place in government agencies at all levels from the United States Congress to the state and local government bodies.
310-A:168 License Required. Any person engaging in, offering to engage in, or appearing to engage in court reporting shall hold a valid license issued under this subdivision, designating the method by which the reporter is licensed to practice.
310-A:169 Requirements for Licensure. The board shall issue a license to any qualified applicant who meets the standards established under this subdivision and who holds one of the following titles:
I. Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), from the National Court Reporters Association; or
II. Certified Voice Reporter (CVR), from the National Verbatim Reporters Association.
310-A:170 Qualifications for Applicant for Licensing. The board shall consider any applicant for licensing who has:
I. Applied for licensing;
II. Paid the fee required by this subdivision; and
III. Submitted proof satisfactory to the secretary that he or she:
(a) Is not less than 18 years of age;
(b) Is a citizen of the United States or legally able to work;
(c) Is of good moral character; and
(d) Has a high school education, or the equivalent thereof, as defined by the department of education.
310-A:171 Fees. The board shall adopt rules, under RSA 541-A, which shall establish all fees required under this subdivision including fees for the following:
II. Application for licensure upon passing the examination.
III. Application for a license under RSA 310-A:170.
IV. Biennial renewal for licensed court reporters.
V. Late fees for a late renewal of license.
VI. Replacement of a lost or mutilated license.
VII. Transcribing and transferring records and other services.
310-A:172 Individual Seals Required. Every licensed court reporter under this subdivision shall have a seal containing the name of the licensed court reporter, his or her place of business, and the words “Licensed Court Reporter, State of New Hampshire” with which he or she shall stamp all transcripts prepared by him or her or under his or her supervision for use in this state. No licensed court reporter shall affix or permit to be affixed his or her seal to any transcript not prepared by him or her or under his or her supervision, nor shall any such reporter use his or her seal or do any other act as a licensed court reporter unless holding at the time a valid license under this subdivision. Licensed court reporter’s seals shall indicate the reporting method utilized as defined in RSA 310-A:162.
310-A:173 Term of License; Renewal. The term of licensure under this subdivision shall be every 2 years. All licenses issued by the board shall expire on the last day of the month of the licensee's birth in the year 2 years following the year of issuance. The secretary of the board shall notify every licensee of the date of the expiration of the license and the amount of the fee that shall be required for its renewal for 2 years, such amount to be not less than $200. Such notice shall be mailed at least one month in advance of the date of expiration. Renewal may be effected at any time during the month of expiration by the payment of the fee established by the board and submission of evidence satisfactory to the board showing fulfillment of continuing education requirements. If a licensee fails to renew such license within the 12 months after the date of expiration, it shall become null and void and the licensee shall be required to reapply for licensure. The board, pursuant to rules adopted under RSA 310-A:171, shall charge up to a 20 percent late fee for each month or fraction of a month the renewal is late, up to 12 months, in addition to the renewal fee.
310-A:174 Disciplinary Action.
I. The board may undertake disciplinary proceedings:
(a) Upon his or her own initiative; or
(b) Upon written complaint of any person which charges that a person licensed by the board has committed misconduct under paragraph II and which specifies the grounds therefor.
II. Misconduct sufficient to support disciplinary proceedings under this section shall include:
(a) The practice of fraud or deceit in procuring or attempting to procure a license to practice under this subdivision.
(b) The practice of court reporting using a reporting method for which the person is not licensed.
(c) Conviction of a felony.
(d) Any unprofessional conduct, or dishonorable conduct unworthy of, and affecting the practice of, the profession.
(e) Unfitness or incompetency by reason of negligent habits or other causes.
(f) Addiction to the use of alcohol or other habit-forming drugs to a degree which renders him or her unfit to practice under this subdivision.
(g) Mental or physical incompetency to practice under this subdivision.
(h) Willful or repeated violation of the provisions of this subdivision.
(i) Suspension or revocation of a license, similar to one issued under this subdivision, in another jurisdiction and not reinstated.
III. The board may take disciplinary action in any one or more of the following ways:
(a) By reprimand.
(b) By suspension, limitation, or restriction of license for a period of up to 5 years.
(c) By revocation of license.
(d) By requiring the person to participate in a program of continuing education in the area or areas in which he or she has been found deficient.
(e) By assessing administrative fines in amounts established by the board which shall not exceed $2,000 per offense, or, in the case of continuing offenses, $200 for each day up to a total not exceeding $2,000.
310-A:175 Hearings. The board shall take no disciplinary action without a hearing. At least 14 days prior to the hearing, the board shall serve all parties in a disciplinary proceeding, either personally or by registered mail, with a written copy of the complaint filed and notice of the time and place for hearing. All complaints shall be objectively received and fairly heard by the board, but no complaint shall be acted upon unless in writing. A hearing shall be held on all written complaints received by the board within 3 months of the date notice of a complaint was received by the accused, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. Written notice of all disciplinary decisions made by the board shall be given to all parties to the proceeding upon their issuance.
I. Any person who shall practice or offer to practice as a licensed court reporter in this state for others without being licensed in accordance with this subdivision shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor if a natural person, or guilty of a felony if a business organization.
II. Any person who violates any other provision of this subdivision shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
310-A:177 Surety Bond Required. There shall be filed with each original application for licensure a bond in the form of a surety, by a reputable company engaged in the bonding business, authorized to do business in the state, for the penal sum of $1,000 with one or more sureties, to be approved by the attorney general and conditioned that the applicant conform to and not violate any of the duties, terms, conditions, provisions, or requirements of this subdivision. If any person shall be aggrieved by the misconduct of any such licensee, such person may maintain an action in his or her own name upon the bond of said licensee in any court having jurisdiction of the amount claimed. All such claims shall be assignable, and the assignee shall be entitled to the same upon the bond of such licensee or otherwise, as the person aggrieved would have been entitled to if such claim had not been assigned. Any claim or claims so assigned may be enforced in the name of such assignee. Any remedies given by this subdivision shall not be exclusive of any other remedy which would otherwise exist.
310-A:178 Continuing Education Required. Any person holding a license shall be required to be in compliance with the continuing education requirements of the National Court Reporters Association or the National Verbatim Reporters Association depending on their method of court reporting as specified in RSA 310-A:162. Each person shall be responsible for maintaining evidence of his or her continuing education units and shall submit such evidence of continuing education units to the board annually upon renewal of their license.
310-A:179 License Number Required. The board shall issue license numbers and all licensees shall display their license number on any transcripts produced by the licensee and on all business cards and other such information made available to the public or as dictated by the board.
310-A:180 Code of Ethics. The board shall adopt the National Court Reporters Association Code of Ethics as the New Hampshire board of court reporters code of ethics, including all provisions relating to giving, directly or indirectly, any gift, incentive, reward or anything of value to attorneys, clients, witnesses, insurance companies, or any other persons or entities associated with the litigation or to the representatives or agents of any of the foregoing except for:
I. Items that do not exceed $100 in the aggregate per recipient each year; or
II. Pro bono services as defined by the New Hampshire Bar Association.
310-A:181 Limited Notarial Function. Any licensee under this subdivision may be permitted, in the performance of his or her court reporting duties, to place any person under oath without the separate requirement of being designated a notary public, justice of the peace, or commissioner of deeds, as specified in RSA 455.
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