Spring has sprung, and more reporters are springing into action with in-person jury trials. There is a sense of happiness to be getting back into some normalcy with seeing friends and family in person, and apprehension about having to dress up and commute for job assignments. Some would be happy not to ever have to attempt a remote deposition or nonjury trial again. I’ve found it all depends on the quality of the WiFi and It’s not about the reporter being afraid of the technology.
We definitely had more people comfortable attending virtually when we held our second virtual continuing education event on Saturday, March 20 for Spring Education Day. Our attendance doubled from November’s Zoomvention. It was a great success due to our generous sponsors and donators, our over 40 raffle prize winners, and fantastic speakers Margie Wakeman Wells and Kristina Tan. They got fantastic reviews, and we will be sure to have them back again soon. We had attendees share their past vacation photos. It was so nice to see the places people have traveled and enjoyed themselves. The survey results had everyone saying even when we can get together in person, for convenience, they would still like to see remote opportunities for CEUs. We will definitely be taking this feedback into consideration.
We also announced on March 20 the results of our 2021/2022 election. Welcome to our new board members Linda Kia, Monica Anderson, and Alicia Greenland. We were really sad to see our student liaison Zelma Lee have to leave us after her two-year term was up, and we look forward to seeing her name on the ballot next year for a board position when she graduates. Lori McCoin Jones stepped off the board, but she will be helping out on committees when she can.
If you’re an electronic notary, I’m sure you received the email from the Notary Commission pertaining to HB2064. Not on VCRA’s behalf, but on my own behalf, I did write the following: “I need clarification. Are you wishing the certification page of deposition transcripts to have this information – location of notary at time of administering the oath and whether remote or in person – or is this just for notarizing documents?” Response: “This is information that must be included in the notarial area of an electronic notarizations.” I wrote back: “When court reporters/notaries are swearing in a witness electronically, via Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, et cetera, do you consider that an electronic notary act where we have to put this information on our certification page that gets attached to the back of a transcript attesting to the fact that we swore the witness in, we’re not a party to the case, we have no financial interest in the outcome?” Okay. I realize that was quite a long sentence. Their response: “Please refer to the Handbook for information on allowed notarial acts and requirements. If it is not specifically listed, your question would be legal in nature and you will need to contact an attorney for guidance.”
We’ve included in the newsletter the actual HB2064 bill, and I am going to reach out to the original authors to find out what their intent was. VCRA has already consulted a lawyer in the past about interpretations of the Handbook and at this point, as your president, I’ve gone in circles more than once with this with the Supreme Court and Notary Commission.
Back in February I wrote to the Attorney General, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Supreme Court about issues members have brought to us of email solicitations from overseas to do transcription, the notary questions that have continued to come up, concerns about pressing record on Zoom in place of a videographer, and anti-contracting laws not being enforced.
Since we’re still under an Executive Emergency Order, education days have been virtual. The Education Committee made a video to share for virtual high school career days and had its first showing was at South Lakes High School located in Reston, Virginia. We’re reaching out to guidance counselors across the state to attend their virtual career days.
You can read the January board meeting minutes to see what the board has been working on. If you would like to participate on a committee, please let us know. We are always looking for new ideas and perspective, and you will make a difference. One of the greatest rewards of donating your time to the board is the friends you make. One of the other greatest rewards is knowing you are helping so many people.
We are hoping to have a board meeting in person in September and a social after. And we are very much looking forward to seeing everyone in Lynchburg for our much anticipated in-person convention March 25-27, 2022, with our headline speaker Mark Kislingbury. Be sure to save that date... again.
Donna Linton, RMR,CCR,CLR