The commissioner of commerce shall:
(1) administer through interagency agreement with the commissioner of human services a program to distribute communication devices to eligible communication-impaired persons; and
(2) contract with a qualified vendor that serves communication-impaired persons to create and maintain a telecommunication relay service.
For purposes of sections 237.51 to 237.56, the Department of Commerce and any organization with which it contracts pursuant to this section or section 237.54, subdivision 2, are not telephone companies or telecommunications carriers as defined in section 237.01.
(1) prepare the reports required by section 237.55;
(2) administer the fund created in section 237.52; and
(1) define economic hardship, special needs, and household criteria so as to determine the priority of eligible applicants for initial distribution of devices and to determine circumstances necessitating provision of more than one communication device per household;
(2) establish a method to verify eligibility requirements;
(3) establish specifications for communication devices to be purchased under section 237.53, subdivision 3; and
(4) inform the public and specifically the community of communication-impaired persons of the program.
(b) The commissioner may establish an advisory board to advise the department in carrying out the duties specified in this section and to advise the commissioner of commerce in carrying out duties under section 237.54. If so established, the advisory board must include, at a minimum, the following communication-impaired persons:
(1) at least one member who is deaf;
(2) at least one member who is speech impaired;
(3) at least one member who is mobility impaired; and
(4) at least one member who is hard-of-hearing.
The membership terms, compensation, and removal of members and the filling of membership vacancies are governed by section 15.059. Advisory board meetings shall be held at the discretion of the commissioner.