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Sponsor thanks governor for vetoing his bill

Tuesday, Aug 27, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Monday press release…

State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), issued the following statement after Gov. JB Pritzker vetoed his legislation changing rules for court reporters:

“Today, at my request, Governor Pritzker vetoed my Senate Bill 2128, a bill intended to improve the practice of court reporting in Illinois.

“After the bill passed the General Assembly, I became aware of consequences unintended at the time that would be very disruptive to pending litigation and the practice of trial law if the bill became law.

“I’ve invited all of the affected stakeholders to join in a conversation about the legislative effort, and I look forward to working with them all to produce an even better bill.

“I’m grateful to the governor for his action today, which both avoids those unintended consequences and puts all of the stakeholders on an even playing field as we restart negotiations.”

That’s a pretty unusual press release, so I asked Harmon about his bill’s unintended consequences.

Sen. Harmon said there are three types of court reporters. The old fashioned stenographers and newer reporters who are called verbatum or voice writers who repeat everything into a recording device.

The third category is even newer, and Harmon wasn’t aware of those folks. They make a recording, then send it off to be transcribed. The bill was an agreement between first two types of reporters, but, Harmon said, the final product “worked to the detriment” of the third category. Lots of lawyers had transcripts that couldn’t be used if the bill had been signed.

So, it’s back to the drawing board.


  1. - OneMan - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    The Navy has been using verbatim, for a while, it even shows up during Maverick’s hearing in Top Gun and a Quincy episode.

    Look for the guy talking into the cone in this scene.

  2. - Colin O'Scopy - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    I must give Sen. Harmon credit here. Instead of taking the approach of “we can fix it in veto session or next year”, he acted swiftly to stop a harmful bill from becoming law and promised to fix the unintended consequences at the appropriate time. Kudos to Sen. Harmon.

  3. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 11:15 am:

    “Kudos to Sen. Harmon.”


    – MrJM

  4. - P - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 11:15 am:

    “Sponsor thanks Governor for vetoing his bill.”
    Sounds about right for Harmon

  5. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    Looks like his staff and/or the group pushing the bill didn’t do their homework.

  6. - Lt. Guv - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    Colin said it well.

  7. - City Zen - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    ==The third category is even newer, and Harmon wasn’t aware of those folks.==

    Harmon is an attorney by trade, no?

  8. - 4th - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    ==I’ve invited all of the affected stakeholders to join in a conversation about the legislative effort, and I look forward to working with them all to produce an even better bill.==

    This is exactly what a good legislator does.

  9. - Bruce (no not him) - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    Always glad to a lawmaker passing a bill, without knowing all the details of what he is trying to fix.

  10. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    Harmon is an attorney by trade, no?

    Yes, he is…but not a perfect one…on the other hand…he may be the nicest politician in Illinois.

    A thoughtful remedy for a mistake anyone may have made.

  11. - SAP - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    ==The bill was an agreement between first two types of reporters, but, Harmon said, the final product “worked to the detriment” of the third category.== Sounds like the stenographers and the verbatim guys were not entirely forthcoming when they pitched the bill.

  12. - Roar Riggity - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 2:40 pm:

    So Senator Harmon realized that his efforts to regulate a profession did not take into account the creative forces of an ever evolving and changing market economy and he confessed error. This is progress. More of this please.

  13. - Leslie K - Tuesday, Aug 27, 19 @ 4:59 pm:

    ===Sounds like the stenographers and the verbatim guys were not entirely forthcoming when they pitched the bill.===

    That’s what I was thinking as well. Surely they knew about the third type? I’m surprised the trial lawyers didn’t get to this bill early on. But good on Harmon for taking new information and deciding to start over rather than amend/try to fix. Not at all surprised, however; he’s always seemed like a straight shooter and a genuine person.

  14. - Brenda, CSR - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    All lawyers need to know the difference. There are Certified Shorthand Reporters (licensed by the State of Illinois) who use the best technology and are highly trained, educated and skilled. This is the gold standard. There are also voice writers. They are also highly trained and skilled and our national association sanctions their method.

    Then there are “digital reporters” who have a tiny amount of training to hit a record button. They are not officers of the court and are not bound by any state licensing body whatsoever! They are not bound by any code of ethics (think about that for your highly-confidential matters, folks). They send the recordings overseas and have them transcribed by multiple parties who have possibly little to no education and again are not licensed…all for pennies on the dollar. How would you like that for your next complex pharmaceutical case or patent case? The big companies pocket all the profit, and the record suffers. Some large national “court reporting” companies are claiming this is necessary because there is a shortage of real court reporters. I assure you, there are days that some of us are scrambling for work. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, educate yourselves before passing or vetoing any legislation!!!!

  15. - Jessica, RPR - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 1:42 pm:

    Both stenographic (machine) writers as well as mask writers or voice writers are reporting proceedings verbatim. To call voice or mask writers “verbatim” suggests that those of us using a steno machine are not making a verbatim record, which is completely incorrrect. As for those calling themselves “digital reporters,” I will echo what Brenda said. In essence you are playing Russian roulette with your record in the attempt to save a buck, which will most likely come back to bite you in the wallet when you have to attempt to remedy the disastrous transcript you may get. Actual court reporters are licensed not only by the State but also by our national association and we are bound by the ethical standards of both. We have to complete CEUs just like attorneys and doctors. What we do is difficult. If anybody could do it, they would, so please remember that age-old adage, you get what you pay for.

  16. - Dyann, CSR, RPR - Wednesday, Aug 28, 19 @ 10:07 pm:

    It is truly astounding that the majority of legislators have law degrees but nearly zero knowledge of how a court stenographer does her (or his) job. Brenda and Jessica are both stenographers, and their comments are exactly right except for one thing: that is, referring to those using digital recorders as digital “reporters.” They are unskilled, unlicensed folks who are given minimal training and then sent out to handle extremely important and sensitive legal proceedings. When you truly care about your record, always always ALWAYS request a certified, licensed officer of the court: an Illinois Certified Shorthand Reporter or Registered Professional Reporter. Our Illinois Court Reporters Association members stand at the ready to help educate legislators collectively or individually. Please contact them so you know exactly what you are voting for or against. Thank you.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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