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Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                             CHAPTER 82-S.F.No. 299 
                  An act relating to vocational rehabilitation; changing 
                  references to visually disabled persons; making 
                  changes of a technical and housekeeping nature; 
                  amending Minnesota Statutes 1994, sections 248.011; 
                  248.07, subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13, 14a, and 16; 
                  248.10; 248.11; 268A.02, subdivision 2; 268A.03; and 
                  268A.11, subdivisions 1 and 3; repealing Minnesota 
                  Statutes 1994, section 268A.12. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 248.011, is 
        amended to read: 
           248.011 [REPORTING OF NEWLY BLINDED INDIVIDUAL.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [DUTY TO REPORT.] Whenever an 
        ophthalmologist or optometrist makes an initial diagnosis of 
        legal blindness as defined in section 256D.35, subdivision 4a, 
        the ophthalmologist or optometrist shall advise the client that 
        services are available through Minnesota state services for the 
        blind and visually handicapped.  After obtaining client consent, 
        the ophthalmologist or optometrist shall report the name of the 
        legally blind client to Minnesota state services for the 
        blind and visually handicapped.  The report must be filed with 
        Minnesota state services for the blind and visually handicapped 
        within 30 days following a diagnosis of legal blindness after 
        obtaining client consent. 
           Subd. 2.  [DUTIES OF MINNESOTA STATE SERVICES FOR THE BLIND 
        AND VISUALLY HANDICAPPED.] Upon receipt of the name of a legally 
        blind individual, Minnesota state services for the blind and 
        visually handicapped shall contact the newly blind individual 
        within 30 days and provide a complete summary of available 
        services to the blind individual, in media accessible to the 
        individual. 
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 248.07, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [COOPERATION.] It shall be the duty of the 
        commissioner of economic security, referred to in this section 
        and sections 248.10 and 248.11 as the commissioner, to develop 
        and administer programs serving the needs of blind and 
        visually handicapped disabled persons and to cooperate with 
        state and local boards and agencies both public and private.  
        The commissioner shall create a division that is a distinct 
        organizational unit to be known as the division of state 
        services for the blind and visually handicapped, separate from 
        the vocational rehabilitation unit and with its own activity 
        budget, within the department of economic security to provide 
        and coordinate services to the blind. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 248.07, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [STATISTICS.] The commissioner shall collect 
        statistics concerning blind persons including medical 
        ophthalmological data, causes of blindness, opportunities for 
        education, rehabilitation, training for employment, and any 
        other information necessary to carry out the commissioner's 
        duties and responsibilities with respect to blind and visually 
        handicapped disabled persons. 
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 248.07, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [SPECIAL ATTENTION.] The commissioner shall give 
        special attention to the cases of handicapped disabled youth who 
        are eligible to attend the Minnesota state academy for the 
        blind, the Minnesota state academy for the deaf, or the public 
        school classes for handicapped disabled children, but are not in 
        attendance thereat there, or are not receiving adequate 
        instruction elsewhere.  The commissioner shall report all such 
        cases to the school district of the individual's residence and 
        to the state board of education. 
           Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 248.07, 
        subdivision 4, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 4.  [VOCATIONAL TRAINING.] The commissioner shall 
        either provide or assist blind and visually handicapped disabled 
        persons in obtaining vocational training and employment and 
        shall aid such persons in obtaining services and benefits to 
        which they may be entitled from public and private agencies.  
        Any person who shall be entitled to training under this 
        subdivision shall have the right to choose from available 
        programs such training as in the opinion of the person would be 
        suitable and practical in accordance with rules adopted by the 
        commissioner under subdivision 14a. 
           Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 248.07, 
        subdivision 5, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 5.  [AIDS.] The commissioner shall further be 
        empowered to aid the persons who are blind or visually disabled: 
        (1) by home instruction and training; (2) by assisting them in 
        securing tools, appliances, and supplies; (3) by any other 
        practicable means of improving their social, economic, or 
        educational condition; (4) by providing to eligible persons, or 
        purchasing for sale at cost plus handling charges, special 
        materials and supplies needed by blind or visually handicapped 
        disabled persons that are difficult to obtain elsewhere; and (5) 
        by promoting literacy and access to print materials through 
        production for blind or visually disabled persons or others of 
        alternative reading formats such as Braille, audio tapes, radio 
        signals, newspaper reading services, and other services 
        originating from the division's communication center.  Equipment 
        may be leased or sold under written rehabilitation plans at cost 
        plus handling charges to persons who wish to lease or purchase 
        them.  Receipts under this subdivision, as well as gifts to aid 
        the blind, are subject to section 268.0121, subdivision 5. 
           Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 248.07, 
        subdivision 13, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 13.  [COMMUNITY REHABILITATION FACILITIES PROGRAMS.] 
        From the funds appropriated for vocational rehabilitation of the 
        blind and matching federal funds available for the purpose, the 
        commissioner may make grants, upon such terms as the 
        commissioner may determine, to public or nonprofit organizations 
        for the establishment, maintenance or improvement of community 
        rehabilitation facilities or sheltered workshops for the 
        blind programs. 
           Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 248.07, 
        subdivision 14a, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 14a.  [RULES.] The commissioner shall adopt rules to 
        set standards for the provision of rehabilitative services to 
        blind and visually handicapped disabled persons.  The rules 
        shall, at a minimum, contain program definitions and set 
        standards for basic eligibility, including financial need 
        eligibility and definitions of legal blindness.  
           The rules shall provide for the development of formal 
        rehabilitation plans for eligible clients and shall govern the 
        provision of direct rehabilitative services to clients, 
        including placement in training programs, and providing tools 
        and equipment.  In addition, the rules shall set standards for 
        appeals filed under subdivision 15 and include specific 
        requirements for timely responses by the agency. 
           Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 248.07, 
        subdivision 16, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 16.  [ADJUSTMENT-TO-BLINDNESS TRAINING.] (a) The 
        commissioner of economic security shall enter into contracts or 
        agreements to provide comprehensive adjustment-to-blindness 
        training services to blind and visually handicapped disabled 
        persons.  Services available must include, but not be limited 
        to, instruction in Braille reading and writing, the use of the 
        long white cane for independent travel, home management and self 
        management, typing and computer technology, career exploration, 
        and seminars on positive adjustment to blindness.  In entering 
        into contracts or agreements to provide adjustment-to-blindness 
        services, the commissioner shall, when in the best interests of 
        the client, utilize services available from qualified nonprofit 
        agencies or organizations who: 
           (1) are administered by a governing board composed of a 
        majority of individuals who are blind; 
           (2) substantially involve individuals who are blind in 
        policy direction and management; and 
           (3) employ individuals who are blind at all levels of 
        operation. 
           (b) This subdivision does not limit the commissioner's 
        authority to enter into contracts or agreements for any service 
        with other qualified agencies or organizations. 
           Sec. 10.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 248.10, is 
        amended to read: 
           248.10 [REHABILITATION ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR THE BLIND.] 
           The commissioner shall establish a rehabilitation advisory 
        council for the blind consistent with the federal Rehabilitation 
        Act of 1973, Public Law Number 93-112, as amended through 
        December 31, 1992.  Advisory council members shall be 
        compensated as provided in section 15.059, subdivision 3.  
        Members of the council for the blind appointed before July 1, 
        1993, shall serve on the advisory council until the end of their 
        appointed terms.  The advisory council shall advise the 
        commissioner about programs of the division of state services 
        for the blind and visually handicapped disabled.  The advisory 
        council is limited to 15 members, a majority of whom must be 
        blind or visually handicapped disabled. 
           Sec. 11.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 248.11, is 
        amended to read: 
           248.11 [RECOUPMENT OF SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS.] If a recipient 
        receives monetary assistance as a rehabilitation service from 
        services for the blind and visually handicapped in excess of 
        that to which the recipient is entitled by law, state services 
        for the blind and visually handicapped shall, as soon as it 
        discovers the amount of the erroneous payment, notify the 
        recipient to return the same in accordance with rules adopted by 
        the commissioner.  Unless the recipient files an appeal under 
        section 248.07, subdivision 15, within 15 days after the notice 
        to return is personally delivered to the recipient or mailed to 
        the recipient's last known address, the determination of 
        overpayment shall be considered final.  If the recipient files a 
        timely appeal, the determination shall not be considered final 
        until the recipient's administrative appeal remedies are 
        exhausted.  State services for the blind and visually 
        handicapped may recoup overpayments considered final under this 
        subdivision by deducting the amount or a part of the overpayment 
        from future monetary assistance payments to the recipient or by 
        civil action in the name of the commissioner. Overpayments made 
        more than three years prior to discovery of the error are not 
        recoverable under this subdivision. 
           Subd. 2.  [RECOVERY OF EQUIPMENT.] If a recipient retains 
        equipment to which state services for the blind and visually 
        handicapped has title after the recipient's right to possess the 
        equipment has expired, state services for the blind and visually 
        handicapped shall notify the recipient to return the same or 
        execute a new lease to the equipment if the equipment is still 
        necessary to the recipient's rehabilitation.  Unless the 
        recipient returns the equipment, executes and complies with a 
        new lease to the equipment or appeals under section 248.07, 
        subdivision 15 within 15 days after the notice to return is 
        personally delivered to the recipient or mailed to the 
        recipient's last known address, state services for the blind and 
        visually handicapped may institute a civil action to recover the 
        equipment or the reasonable value of the equipment. 
           Sec. 12.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 268A.02, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [REHABILITATION ADVISORY COUNCIL.] The 
        commissioner shall establish a state rehabilitation advisory 
        council consistent with the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 
        Public Law Number 93-112, as amended through December 31, 1992.  
        Members of the advisory council shall be compensated as provided 
        in section 15.059, subdivision 3.  Members of the consumer 
        advisory council appointed prior to July 1, 1993, shall serve on 
        the rehabilitation advisory council until the end of their 
        appointed terms.  
           Sec. 13.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 268A.03, is 
        amended to read: 
           268A.03 [POWERS AND DUTIES.] 
           The commissioner shall: 
           (a) certify the rehabilitation facilities to offer extended 
        employment programs, grant funds to the extended employment 
        programs, and perform the duties as specified in section 
        268A.09; 
           (b) provide vocational rehabilitation services to persons 
        with disabilities in accordance with the state plan for 
        vocational rehabilitation.  These services include but are not 
        limited to:  diagnostic and related services incidental to 
        determination of eligibility for services to be provided, 
        including medical diagnosis and vocational diagnosis; vocational 
        counseling, training and instruction, including personal 
        adjustment training; physical restoration, including corrective 
        surgery, therapeutic treatment, hospitalization and prosthetic 
        and orthotic devices, all of which shall be obtained from 
        appropriate established agencies; transportation; occupational 
        and business licenses or permits, customary tools and equipment; 
        maintenance; books, supplies, and training materials; initial 
        stocks and supplies; placement; on-the-job skill training and 
        time-limited postemployment services leading to supported 
        employment; acquisition of vending stands or other equipment, 
        initial stocks and supplies for small business enterprises; 
        supervision and management of small business enterprises, 
        merchandising programs, or services rendered by severely 
        disabled persons federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Public Law 
        Number 93-112, as amended.  Persons with a disability are 
        entitled to free choice of vendor for any medical, dental, 
        prosthetic, or orthotic services provided under this paragraph;. 
           (c) expend funds and provide technical assistance for the 
        establishment, improvement, maintenance, or extension of public 
        and other nonprofit rehabilitation facilities or centers; 
           (d) maintain a contractual or regulatory relationship with 
        the United States as authorized by the Social Security Act, as 
        amended.  Under this relationship, the state will undertake to 
        make determinations referred to in those public laws with 
        respect to all individuals in Minnesota, or with respect to a 
        class or classes of individuals in this state that is designated 
        in the agreement at the state's request.  It is the purpose of 
        this relationship to permit the citizens of this state to obtain 
        all benefits available under federal law; 
           (e) provide an in-service training program for division of 
        rehabilitation services employees by paying for its direct costs 
        with state and federal funds; 
           (f) conduct research and demonstration projects; provide 
        training and instruction, including establishment and 
        maintenance of research fellowships and traineeships, along with 
        all necessary stipends and allowances; disseminate information 
        to persons with a disability and the general public; and provide 
        technical assistance relating to vocational rehabilitation and 
        independent living; 
           (g) receive and disburse pursuant to law money and gifts 
        available from governmental and private sources including, but 
        not limited to, the federal Department of Education and the 
        Social Security Administration, for the purpose of vocational 
        rehabilitation or independent living; 
           (h) design all state plans for vocational rehabilitation or 
        independent living services required as a condition to the 
        receipt and disbursement of any money available from the federal 
        government; 
           (i) cooperate with other public or private agencies or 
        organizations for the purpose of vocational rehabilitation or 
        independent living.  Money received from school districts, 
        governmental subdivisions, mental health centers or boards, and 
        private nonprofit organizations is appropriated to the 
        commissioner for conducting joint or cooperative vocational 
        rehabilitation or independent living programs; 
           (j) enter into contractual arrangements with 
        instrumentalities of federal, state, or local government and 
        with private individuals, organizations, agencies, or facilities 
        with respect to providing vocational rehabilitation or 
        independent living services; 
           (k) take other actions required by state and federal 
        legislation relating to vocational rehabilitation, independent 
        living, and disability determination programs; 
           (l) hire staff and arrange services and facilities 
        necessary to perform the duties and powers specified in this 
        section; and 
           (m) adopt, amend, suspend, or repeal rules necessary to 
        implement or make specific programs that the commissioner by 
        sections 268A.01 to 268A.10 is empowered to administer; and. 
           (n) contact any person with traumatic brain injury or 
        spinal cord injury reported by the commissioner of health under 
        section 144.664, subdivision 3, and notify the person, or the 
        person's parent or guardian if the person is a minor or is 
        mentally incompetent, of services available to the person, 
        eligibility requirements and application procedures for public 
        programs, and other information the commissioner believes may be 
        helpful to the person to make appropriate use of available 
        rehabilitation services. 
           Sec. 14.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 268A.11, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [PURPOSES AND SERVICES OFFERED.] 
        Independent living services are those services designed to 
        materially improve opportunities for persons with disabilities 
        to live and function more independently in their home, family, 
        and community, and the services include:  
           (1) intake counseling to determine the individual's needs 
        for services; 
           (2) referral and counseling services with respect to 
        attendant care; 
           (3) counseling and advocacy with respect to legal and 
        economic rights and benefits; 
           (4) independent living skills, training, and counseling; 
           (5) housing and transportation referral and assistance; 
           (6) surveys, directories, and other activities to identify 
        appropriate housing and accessible transportation and other 
        support services; 
           (7) peer counseling; 
           (8) education and training necessary to living in the 
        community and participating in community affairs; 
           (9) individual and group social and recreational 
        activities; 
           (10) attendant care and training of personnel to provide 
        the care; and 
           (11) other necessary services which are not inconsistent 
        with sections 62A.26 and 62E.06, subdivision 1.  The purposes of 
        independent living services and the services that are to be 
        provided are those that are consistent with Code of Federal 
        Regulations, title 34, parts 365 to 367. 
           Sec. 15.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 268A.11, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [CERTIFICATION.] No applicant center for 
        independent living may receive funding under this section unless 
        it has received certification from the division of 
        rehabilitation services.  
           The division of rehabilitation services shall involve 
        persons with a disability and other interested persons to 
        consider performance evaluation criteria in order to formulate 
        rules by which centers will be certified by July 1, 1986.  
           The division of rehabilitation services shall review the 
        programs for of centers of for independent living receiving 
        funds from this section to determine their adherence to 
        standards adopted by rule and if the standards are substantially 
        met, shall issue appropriate certifications.  
           Sec. 16.  [RECREATION AND REINSTATEMENT OF REHABILITATION 
        ADVISORY COUNCIL.] 
           Notwithstanding Laws 1993, chapter 286, section 1, and Laws 
        1993, chapter 337, section 1, the rehabilitation advisory 
        council established in Minnesota Statutes, section 268A.02, and 
        the rehabilitation advisory council for the blind established in 
        section 248.10 are recreated and reinstated. 
           Sec. 17.  [REPEALER.] 
           Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 268A.12, is repealed. 
           Sec. 18.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           Sections 1 to 17 are effective the day following final 
        enactment. 
           Presented to the governor April 20, 1995 
           Signed by the governor April 21, 1995, 1:58 p.m.