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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 governor for a three-year term and shall serve no more than two consecutive terms. The commission shall 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) 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, Education, Employment and Economic Development, 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, Education, Employment and Economic Development, 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, Education, Employment and Economic Development, and Health on statutes, 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, Education, Employment and Economic Development, 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 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 may prepare and distribute 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.

HIST: 1Sp1985 c 14 art 9 s 27; 1987 c 302 s 5,6; 1988 c 629 s 56; 1989 c 282 art 2 s 122-125; 1992 c 513 art 9 s 30,31; 1993 c 306 s 16; 1994 c 483 s 1; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 16 s 13; 1996 c 392 s 6; 2003 c 130 s 12; 2004 c 206 s 52