06 Oct 2009
Senate Standing Committee on Labor Public Hearing on the Recording of Workers' Compensation Hearings
Senate Hearing Room
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
*Video of the hearing is now available in four parts.
SUBJECT: The recording of workers’ compensation hearings
PURPOSE: To study the proposed use of a digital-audio recording system instead of a stenographer to record workers’ compensation hearings.
Stenographers have always recorded the testimony of injured workers and other parties at workers’ compensation hearings in New York. Their training provides the skills needed to accurately capture the diverse dialects and limitations of witnesses who testify. The ability of stenographers to provide a prompt read back of testimony also helps attorneys and judges by eliminating delays during the hearing and ensures the accuracy of the recorded testimony in the event of an appeal. As a result of the growing interest in the stenography profession, the number of court reporting schools in New York State has increased in recent years.
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has proposed a pilot program to use an audio-digital recording system instead of stenographers to record certain workers’ compensation proceedings. The use of electronic devices to record testimony in certain other jurisdictions has been criticized or rejected following complaints of recording inaccuracies that jeopardized the fairness of hearings and appeals.
The Senate Labor Committee will receive testimony to study the proposed use of digital-audio recording by the Workers’ Compensation Board for its proceedings.
Public input is requested concerning:
(1) The accuracy of digital-audio recording systems to record and transcribe witness testimony.
(2) The experience of other jurisdictions that have used electronic devices to record witness testimony.
(3) The impact on attorneys, judges and witnesses if a stenographer is not present during a workers’ compensation hearing to record testimony.
(4) The impact on New York’s court reporting profession from the proposed use of digital-audio recording for workers’ compensation hearings.
Please view the hearing notice below for additional information and to print the hearing reply form. If you wish to testify on October 6, please complete and return the reply form as soon as possible to the address indicated.