Court Recorder Legislation Fails. What Now?

Counties across the state are faced with significant challenges when attempting to hire and retain courtroom reporters.

August 27, 2021

Legislative News

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Counties across the state are faced with significant challenges when attempting to hire and retain courtroom reporters. The number of licensed court reporters in Texas has decreased over 20% while the number of courts has increased 9% since 2005 — occasionally leaving counties in bidding wars against other counties. Further, according to the Office of Court Administration’s estimate, it will take at least four years to resolve the backlog of cases caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (estimated before the current surge caused by the Delta variant).

During the 87th Legislature’s regular session, Rep. Andy Murr (R-Junction) filed House Bill 228 allowing a commissioners court to order the use of an electronic recording device instead of an official courtroom reporter. Medina County Judge Chris Schuchart testified in support of the bill, clarifying HB 228 made it optional for the county and the court to decide. The bill was left pending in the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence and no Senate companion was filed.

Nationwide we are seeing a shortage of court reporters, with a steady decline of 18% in their numbers since 2018, according to industry experts. This is one of several factors that has led some counties to use a little known option, applying for a Texas Supreme Court waiver, “Rules Governing the Procedure For Making a Record of Court Proceedings in ________ County by Making an Electronic Recording.” Several counties have been granted the waiver. Click to see a copy of:

The Judicial Branch Certification Commission (JBCC) within the Office of Court Administration provides additional information on court reporter requirements.

If your county needs a certified court reporter, try the licensee search from JBCC. Click on entity or business entity then hit Generate Excel. The document then is searchable by name, county, etc.

The Texas Court Reporter Association hosts a Job Bank page; however, a county will need to create a profile and list the opening at

Recording Local Rules

  • Dallas County-pilot project (January 1986)
  • Harris County-DC (April 1988)
  • Travis County-DC and CCL (March 1989)
  • Bexar County (January 1989)
  • Brazos County (Misc. Docket No. 90-0016)
  • Bexar County (Misc. Docket No. 90-0017)
  • Harris County (Misc. Docket No. 91-0017)
  • Liberty County (Misc. Docket No. 91-0058)
  • Dallas County (Misc. Docket No. 91-0059)
  • Dallas County-DC, CCL, and Probate (Misc. Docket No. 92-0067)
  • Travis County-DC, CCL, and Probate (Misc. Docket No. 92-0068)
  • Kleberg County (Misc. Docket No. 92-0072)
  • Wichita County-DC, CCL (Misc. Docket No. 92-0096)
  • Harris County (Misc. Docket No. 93-0002)
  • El Paso County-DC and CC (Misc. Docket No. 93-0059)
  • Jefferson County- DC, CCL, and Probate (Misc. Docket No. 93-0066)
  • 39th Judicial District Court in Haskell, Throckmorton, Stonewall, and Kent County (Misc. Docket No. 93-0154)
  • Medina County-CCL (Misc. Docket No. 95-9103)
  • Hopkins County-CCL (Misc. Docket 97-9021)
  • Travis County- Probate Court 1 (Misc. Docket No. 04-9068)
  • Hardin County (Misc. Docket No. 04-9105)
  • Liberty County (Misc. Docket No. 04-9218)
  • Jasper County (Misc. Docket No. 06-9042)
  • Hardin County (misc. Docket No. 06-9043)
  • Harris County-DC (Misc. Docket No. 07-9134)
  • Newton County-CC (Misc. Docket No. 10-9043)
  • Webb County-DC and CCL (Misc. Docket No. 10-9166)
  • Limestone County (Misc. Docket No. 10-9167)
  • Tarrant County-Probate (Misc. Docket No. 11-9197)
  • Andrews County-Constitutional CL (Misc. Docket No. 15-9074)
  • Lamar County-CCL (Misc. Docket No. 18-9048)
  • Walker County-DC and CCL (Misc. Docket No. 18-9157)
  • Waller County-DC and CCL (Misc. Docket No. 18-9164)
  • Brazos County-CCL 2 (Misc. Docket No. 19-9024)
  • 394th Judicial District Court of Brewster, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, and Presidio Counties (Misc. Docket No. 19-9090)
  • 2nd Judicial District Court of Cherokee County (Misc. Docket No. 19-9112)
  • 258th and 411th District Courts and County Court of Law of Polk County (Misc. Docket No. 19-9114)

For more information about this article, please contact Rick Thompson.