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                            CHAPTER 392-H.F.No. 2127 
                  An act relating to human services; amending Minnesota 
                  Statutes 1994, sections 256C.23; 256C.24, as amended; 
                  256C.25, subdivision 1; 256C.26; and 256C.28, as 
                  amended; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota 
                  Statutes, chapter 256C; repealing Minnesota Statutes 
                  1994, sections 256C.22; and 256C.27. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 256C.23, is 
        amended to read: 
           256C.23 [DEFINITIONS.] 
           Subdivision 1.  For the purposes of sections 256C.21 to 
        256C.27 the terms defined in this section shall have the 
        meanings given them, unless the context clearly indicates 
        otherwise.  
           Subd. 2.  "Deaf" means a hearing loss of such severity that 
        the individual must depend primarily on visual communication 
        such as writing, lip reading, manual communication, and gestures.
           Subd. 2a.  "Hard-of-hearing" means a hearing loss resulting 
        in a functional loss of hearing, but not to the extent that the 
        individual must depend primarily upon visual communication. 
           Subd. 2b.  "Deaf-blind" means any combination of vision and 
        hearing loss which interferes with acquiring information from 
        the environment to the extent that compensatory strategies and 
        skills are necessary to access that or other information.  
           Subd. 3.  "Regional service center" means a facility 
        designed to provide an entry point for deaf, deaf-blind, and 
        hard-of-hearing persons of that region in need of education, 
        employment, social, human, or other services. 
           Subd. 4.  "Human services" means correctional, educational, 
        occupational, health, mental health, financial and social 
        services.  
           Subd. 5.  "Human services agency" means a state, regional 
        or local agency that provides human services.  
           Sec. 2.  [256C.233] [DUTIES OF STATE AGENCIES.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [DEAF AND HARD-OF-HEARING DIVISION.] The 
        commissioners of human services, children, families, and 
        learning, and economic security shall create a distinct and 
        separate organizational unit to be known as the deaf and 
        hard-of-hearing services division to address the developmental, 
        social, educational, and occupational needs of deaf, deaf-blind, 
        and hard-of-hearing persons through a statewide network of 
        collaborative services and by coordinating the promulgation of 
        public policies, regulations, legislation, and programs 
        affecting deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons.  An 
        interdepartmental management team shall supervise the activities 
        of the deaf and hard-of-hearing services division.  The 
        commissioner of human services shall coordinate the work of the 
        interagency management team and receive legislative 
        appropriations for the division. 
           Subd. 2.  [RESPONSIBILITIES.] The deaf and hard-of-hearing 
        services division shall:  
           (1) establish and maintain a statewide network of regional 
        service centers for deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing 
        Minnesotans; 
           (2) assist the departments of human services, children, 
        families, and learning, and economic security to coordinate the 
        promulgation and implementation of public policies, regulations, 
        legislation, programs, and services affecting deaf, deaf-blind, 
        and hard-of-hearing persons; and 
           (3) provide a coordinated system of statewide interpreter 
        referral services. 
           Subd. 3.  [HEALTH.] The commissioner of health shall 
        establish standards for screening for hearing loss with special 
        emphasis on screening of persons from birth through school age 
        and persons over age 65.  
           Subd. 4.  [STATE COMMISSIONERS.] The commissioners of all 
        state agencies shall consult with the deaf and hard-of-hearing 
        services division concerning the promulgation of public 
        policies, regulations, and programs necessary to address the 
        needs of deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing Minnesotans.  
        Each state agency shall consult with the deaf and 
        hard-of-hearing services division concerning the need to forward 
        legislative initiatives to the governor to address the concerns 
        of deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing Minnesotans. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 256C.24, as 
        amended by Laws 1995, chapter 190, section 14, is amended to 
        read: 
           256C.24 [REGIONAL SERVICE CENTERS.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [LOCATION.] The commissioner of human deaf 
        and hard-of-hearing services division shall establish up to 
        eight regional service centers for deaf and hard-of-hearing 
        persons.  The centers shall be distributed regionally to provide 
        access for deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons in all 
        parts of the state.  The center shall maintain a current 
        registry of those persons having or suspected of having a 
        hearing loss who live in that region.  A special task of the 
        registry is to assure that referrals and follow-up services are 
        completed with respect to persons in the register.  
           Subd. 2.  [RESPONSIBILITIES.] The Each regional service 
        center shall:  
           (a) serve as the a central entry point for deaf, 
        deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons in need of human 
        services and make referrals to the services needed; 
           (b) employ staff trained to work with deaf, deaf-blind, and 
        hard-of-hearing persons; 
           (c) provide to all deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing 
        persons access to interpreter services which are necessary to 
        help them obtain human services; 
           (d) implement a plan to provide loan loaned equipment and 
        resource materials to deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing 
        persons; and 
           (e) cooperate with responsible departments and 
        administrative authorities to provide access for deaf, 
        deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons to services provided by 
        state, county, and regional agencies.; 
           (f) collaborate with the resource center for the deaf and 
        hard-of-hearing persons, other divisions of the department of 
        children, families, and learning, and local school districts to 
        develop and deliver programs and services for families with 
        deaf, deaf-blind, or hard-of-hearing children and to support 
        school personnel serving these children; 
           (g) when possible, provide training to the social service 
        or income maintenance staff employed by counties or by 
        organizations with whom counties contract for services to ensure 
        that communication barriers which prevent deaf, deaf-blind, and 
        hard-of-hearing persons from using services are removed; 
           (h) when possible, provide training to state and regional 
        human service agencies regarding program access for deaf, 
        deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons; and 
           (i) assess the ongoing need and supply of services for 
        deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons in all parts of 
        the state and cooperate with public and private service 
        providers to develop these services.  
           Subd. 3.  [ADVISORY COMMITTEE.] The commissioner of human 
        director of the deaf and hard-of-hearing services division shall 
        appoint an advisory committee of up to nine persons for each 
        regional service area.  Members shall include persons who are 
        deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing, persons who are 
        communication-impaired, parents of children who are deaf and 
        hard-of-hearing, parents of communication-impaired children, and 
        representatives of county and regional human services, including 
        representatives of private service providers.  At least 50 
        percent of the members must be deaf or deaf-blind or hard-of- 
        hearing or communication-impaired.  Committee members shall 
        serve for a three-year term and shall serve no more than two 
        consecutive terms.  The commissioner of human services Each 
        advisory committee shall designate one member as elect a chair.  
        The commissioner of human director of the deaf and 
        hard-of-hearing services division shall assign staff to serve as 
        ex officio nonvoting members of the committee.  Members shall 
        not receive a per diem.  Otherwise, the compensation, removal of 
        members, and filling of vacancies on the committee shall be as 
        provided in section 15.0575. 
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 256C.25, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [ESTABLISHMENT.] The commissioner of human 
        deaf and hard-of-hearing services division shall maintain and 
        coordinate statewide interpreter referral services for use by 
        any public or private agency or individual in the state.  Within 
        the seven-county metro area, the commissioner division shall 
        contract for these services; outside the metro area, 
        the commissioner division shall directly coordinate these 
        services but may contract with an appropriate agency to provide 
        this service.  The commissioner division may collect a $3 fee 
        per referral for interpreter referral services and the actual 
        costs of interpreter services provided by department staff.  
        Fees and payments collected shall be deposited in the general 
        fund.  The $3 referral fee shall not be collected from state 
        agencies or local units of government or deaf or hard-of-hearing 
        consumers or interpreters. 
           Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 256C.26, is 
        amended to read: 
           256C.26 [EMPLOYMENT SERVICES.] 
           The commissioner of economic security shall develop a plan 
        to deal with the underemployment of deaf and hard of hearing 
        persons.  The plan shall provide for training regarding the 
        nature of hearing handicaps for department staff who consult 
        with prospective employers or who provide job placement services 
        work with the deaf and hard-of-hearing services division to 
        develop and implement a plan to deal with the underemployment of 
        deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons. 
           Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1994, section 256C.28, as 
        amended by Laws 1995, First Special Session chapter 3, article 
        16, section 13, is amended to read: 
           256C.28 [COMMISSION SERVING DEAF AND HARD-OF-HEARING 
        PEOPLE.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [MEMBERSHIP.] The Minnesota commission 
        serving deaf and hard-of-hearing people consists of seven 
        members appointed at large and one member from each advisory 
        committee established under section 256C.24, subdivision 3.  At 
        least 50 percent of the members must be deaf or deaf-blind or 
        hard of hearing.  Members shall include persons who are deaf, 
        deaf-blind, and hard of hearing, parents of children who are 
        deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing, and representatives of 
        county and regional human services, including representatives of 
        private service providers. Commission members are appointed by 
        the commissioner of human services governor for a three-year 
        term and shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.  
        The commissioner of human services commission shall appoint 
        select one member as chair. 
           Subd. 2.  [REMOVAL; VACANCIES.] The compensation, removal 
        of members, and filling of vacancies on the commission are as 
        provided in section 15.0575.  
           Subd. 3.  [MISSION.] The commission shall serve as the 
        principal agency of the state to advocate on behalf of deaf, 
        deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing Minnesotans by working to ensure 
        those persons have equal access to the services, programs, and 
        opportunities available to others. 
           Subd. 3a.  [DUTIES.] The commission shall: 
           (1) advise the governor, the legislature, and the 
        commissioners of the departments of human services, children, 
        families, and learning, economic security, and health on the 
        nature of the issues and disabilities confronting deaf and hard 
        of hearing persons in Minnesota assist deaf, deaf-blind, and 
        hard-of-hearing persons and parents of deaf, deaf-blind, and 
        hard-of-hearing students in advocating for equal access to 
        services, programs, and opportunities; 
           (2) advise the governor, the legislature, and the 
        commissioners of the departments of human services, children, 
        families, and learning, economic security, and health on the 
        development of policies, programs, and services affecting deaf, 
        deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons, and on the use of 
        appropriate federal and state money; 
           (3) create a public awareness of the special needs and 
        potential of deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons; 
           (4) provide the governor, the legislature, and the 
        commissioners of the departments of human services, children, 
        families, and learning, economic security, and health with a 
        review of ongoing services, programs, and proposed legislation 
        affecting deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons; 
           (5) advise the governor, the legislature, and the 
        commissioners of the departments of human services, children, 
        families, and learning, economic security, and health on 
        statutes or, rules, and policies necessary to ensure that deaf, 
        deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons have equal access to 
        benefits and services provided to individuals in Minnesota; 
           (6) recommend to the governor, the legislature, and the 
        commissioners of the departments of human services, children, 
        families, and learning, economic security, and health 
        legislation designed to improve the economic and social 
        conditions of deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons in 
        Minnesota; 
           (7) propose solutions to problems of deaf, deaf-blind, and 
        hard-of-hearing persons in the areas of education, employment, 
        human rights, human services, health, housing, and other related 
        programs; 
           (8) recommend to the governor and the legislature any 
        needed revisions in the state's affirmative action program and 
        any other steps necessary to eliminate the underemployment or 
        unemployment of deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons in 
        the state's work force; 
           (9) work with other state and federal agencies and 
        organizations to promote economic development for deaf, 
        deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing Minnesotans; and 
           (10) coordinate its efforts with other state and local 
        agencies serving deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing persons. 
           Subd. 4.  [STAFF.] The commission may appoint, subject to 
        the approval of the governor, an executive director who must be 
        experienced in administrative activities and familiar with the 
        problems and needs of deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing 
        persons.  The commission may delegate to the executive director 
        any powers and duties under this section that do not require 
        commission approval.  The executive director serves in the 
        unclassified service and may be removed at any time by a 
        majority vote of the commission.  The executive director shall 
        coordinate the provision of necessary support services to the 
        commission with the state department of human services deaf and 
        hard-of-hearing services division.  The executive director may 
        employ and direct staff necessary to carry out commission 
        mandates, policies, activities, and objectives. 
           Subd. 5.  [POWERS.] The commission may contract in its own 
        name.  Contracts must be approved by a majority of the members 
        of the commission and executed by the chair and the executive 
        director.  The commission may apply for, receive, and expend in 
        its own name grants and gifts of money consistent with the 
        powers and duties specified in this section. 
           Subd. 6.  [REPORT.] The commission shall may prepare and 
        distribute a report to the commissioner, the governor, and the 
        legislature by December 31 of each even-numbered year periodic 
        reports to the state agency commissioners, the governor, and the 
        legislature concerning the activities of the commission and the 
        needs and concerns of deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing 
        Minnesotans.  The report must summarize the activities of the 
        commission since its prior report, list receipts and 
        expenditures, identify the major problems and issues confronting 
        deaf and hard of hearing persons, make recommendations regarding 
        needed policy and program development on behalf of deaf and hard 
        of hearing individuals in Minnesota, and list the specific 
        objectives the commission seeks to attain during the next 
        biennium. 
           Sec. 7.  [REPEALER.] 
           Minnesota Statutes 1994, sections 256C.22 and 256C.27, are 
        repealed. 
           Presented to the governor March 26, 1996 
           Signed by the governor March 28, 1996, 10:08 a.m.